Apple Pay is a payment system designed to change the way you shop. The company has been leading the way in the effort to move consumers from physical wallets packed with cards to a world in which your iPhone or Watch does all the work.

We've combed through all the technical details and complexities involved with Apple Pay to give you an easy-to-read summarisation. Take a moment to read on because Apple Pay will certainly change how you pay and it's worth knowing all about it so you aren't caught short.

Apple Pay: What is it?

Apple Pay is a contact payment technology as well as a feature on the latest iPhones and Apple Watch.

It pulls your credit cards, debit cards, and other sensitive-payment data from the Wallet app, enabling you to use your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch as a wallet at store checkouts.

Apple Pay is available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, the UAE, Russia, China, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as numerous other European nations

Apple Pay: Which devices currently work with it?

Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and later (Apple Pay in stores and within apps), iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3 and later (Apple Pay within apps), and Apple Watch Series 1 or later (when paired with iPhone 5 or later).

Apple Pay: Which banks and cards support it?

Apple Pay supports most major credit and debit cards providers including Visa, MasterCard and Amercian Express,

You do need to use a participating bank though: 

Apple Pay: Does it work with US federal-payment cards too?

Yes. The White House announced that Apple's mobile-payment system would work with federal-payment cards, including Social Security and veterans benefits that are paid through debit cards.

The deal includes the Direct Express payment network and government cards issued through GSA SmartPay. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, also said Apple Pay would support transactions with the federal government by September, meaning you'll be able to use Apple Pay to buy tickets and gift shop items at national parks, etc.

It's worth noting that, by making this announcement at the White House Cyber Security Summit, the US government is officially admitting it is confident in Apple Pay's security capabilities, and thus more governments from around the globe might soon add support for Apple Pay.

Apple Pay: Where else can you use it?

Apple Pay works anywhere that accepts contactless payments, which includes over a million stores. Just look for the contactless payments symbol near readers at checkout.

A few of the US stores and restaurants that accept Apple Pay include: Babies-R-Us, Bloomingdales, Disney, Duane Reade, Macy's, McDonalds, Nike, Petco, Staples, Subway, Toys-R-Us, Unleashed, Walgreens, Whole Foods, etc. Check out this complete list.

The UK already has an established contactless payment system, and you'll be able to use Apple pay at all of the stores and restaurants you already use contactless at. 

You can also use Apple Pay within many apps. For example, in the UK you can pay for your British Airways flights through the app, Uber journeys or Wetherspoons meals and drinks. 

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Apple Pay: How do you set it up?

Setting up Apple Pay with iPhone or iPad

You need to use Apple's Wallet app to setup Apple Pay, or rather store your credit cards and debit cards. Apple Pay pulls this data to pay for goods.

On your iPhone, open Wallet. On your iPad, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap Add Credit or Debit Card. If your card is already on file with iTunes, enter the card's security code. Otherwise, you can use your device's camera to capture the information on your credit, debit, or store card. Then fill in any additional information needed.

Your bank will verify your information. You may need to provide additional verification which can mean you have to phone your bank. After your card is verified, tap Next, and then you can start using Apple Pay.

Setting up Apple Pay with Apple Watch

To setup Apple Pay on the Watch app on your iPhone, open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab, and tap Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap Add next to the card that you want to add.

Your bank will verify your information. You may need to provide additional verification which can mean phoning your bank. You'll receive a notification on your Apple Watch that your card is ready for Apple Pay.

Apple Pay: How do you use it?

How to use Apple Pay with iPhone

Apple Pay requires the Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna and Touch ID or Face ID on iPhone 6 and later. 

To pay at checkout, just hold your iPhone near a contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID. You won't have to look at your iPhone's screen, because a subtle vibration and beep will confirm that you paid correctly. There's also no need to open an app or wake your iPhone's display.

Your fingerprint confirms the payment, or you could enter a passcode if you haven't setup Touch ID.

On the iPhone X, press the sleep/wake button twice to invoke Apple Pay. Face ID will check it's you, or the handset will ask you to enter your passcode if your face isn't recognised.

Once approved, a receipt is recorded in the Wallet app so you can see what you've purchased.

How to use Apple Pay with Watch

To pay at checkout, double-click the button below the Digital Crown on Watch while also holding the face of Watch near a contactless reader. Similar to Apple Pay for iPhone, a pulse and beep will confirm that your payment information sent.

How to use Apple Pay with Apps

Apple iPhone apps can also integrate with Apple Pay, meaning you will be able to select Apple Pay at checkout when ordering anything from an app. You also still need to place your finger on Touch ID when paying (or use Face ID).

You can also use Apple Pay on the Mac via the web. You can either use Touch ID if you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar or pay via your iOS device. 

Apple Pay: Is it secure at all?

Yes. Apple said it doesn't save your transaction information or card numbers on its servers, though your most recent purchases are kept in the Wallet app.

Apple Pay, which has a tokenised backend infrastructure, makes card payments secure by creating a number or token that replaces your card details. More specifically, it creates a Device Account Number for each one of your cards.

According to Apple, the Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone and Apple Watch, and when a payment is initiated, the token is passed to the retailer or merchant. The retailer or merchant therefore never has direct access to your card details.

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Apple Pay: What if you lose your iPhone or Watch?

Losing your iPhone or Watch is stressful enough, but with Apple Pay, the chances of that happening just got a lot more frightening. But it doesn't have to be that way, in Apple's opinion.

The company said you can use Find My iPhone to put your device in Lost Mode. This will lock everything and prevent others from accessing your content including Apple Pay or Wallet data.

Alternatively, you can use Find My iPhone to wipe your iPhone clean completely. 

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