how to use apply pay ? If I use it once this weekend, I’ll use it half a dozen times or more. As contact-free payment kiosks become more common, it’s easier than ever to pay for things using a combination of Apple Pay and my Apple Watch. Double press, point it at the device, and you’re done. It’s so easy, I’ll even drive out of my way to the one gas station in town that takes Apple Pay just so I can use it.
But judging by the number of retailers that are dumbfounded when I use my Apple Watch to pay for things, and by the amount of Apple Watch wearers that ask me how I did it, it’s apparent that getting the stars aligned to make things easy isn’t, well, easy.
Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Add a Card to Apple Wallet
Didn’t do this before? Well you’re doing it now.
If you didn’t set up a card when you first set up your new iPhone, you’ll need to do that before proceeding.
- Open the Wallet app and click the plus symbol in the upper-right corner.
- When the Apple Pay prompt displays, click Continue .
- Enter your credit card credentials, click Next and agree to the terms.
When complete, the card will display in your wallet and let you know it’s ready for use with Apple Pay.
If you’d like a deeper explainer of Apple Pay on iPhone, check out David Phelan’s excellent explainer.
Step 2: Link Your Apple Watch
You can use the Watch app for this, but it’s not recommended.
You should be all set up and ready to go at this point, Apple Pay automatically sends the new information to your Watch app. However, you may need to tweak your settings.
- Open the Watch app and select Wallet & Apple Pay .
- Scroll down to Transaction Defaults and make sure the card you want to use is selected as the Default Card . If you don’t have a billing address information setup, you can set it here as well.
If you want, you can skip Step 1 and set up Apple Pay cards directly from the Watch app. But I find it slower and those cards will only work on your watch, not when you double-tap the Siri button on your phone.
Step 3: Profit (No, Wait, The Opposite of That)
Now, when you see that little Apple Pay symbol at a retailer, wait until you get to the point where you’d put in your card (some kiosks let you do it at the beginning of the transaction, but not all). Then double-click the side button on your Apple Watch (not the digital crown), make sure it’s using the card you want to use for the transaction, and hold your watch near the card reader.
It may take some practice. Some readers have the NFC reader near the card slot at the bottom, others on the side of the unit, and still others have it somewhere marked by a NFC symbol. Over time you’ll figure out where to place your wrist for the optimal read.
In addition to just being cool, it’s actually a very secure way to make a transaction. There’s no fiddling around with your wallet, no card to lose, drop, or forget. And, most importantly, no way to steal your card’s number (ironically, it can make it easier for fraudsters to use credit card numbers stolen via other methods).
I anticipate using Apple Pay a lot more, especially when the Apple Card launches and I start seeing my cashback feed into Apple Cash (which is also easily accessible via Apple Pay). It’s a great system that truly delivers some of that “living in the future” feel that we’re always hunting for.