How to use Apple Pay: Easy guide to set up contactless payment

Apple pay
Apple payFrank May / picture-alliance/dpa via Getty Images

Apple Pay can help streamline your wallet, making it easier to make purchases. Usable at brick-and-mortar stores, within apps, or while shopping online, there are plenty of opportunities to use it, and it's accessible on all Apple devices.

You only need a few things to use Apple Pay, and you should have most of them on hand already. You'll need an eligible Apple device — for in-store use, it can be an iPhone or Apple Watch, but online Apple Pay purchases can be made using an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and on a Mac computer.

You'll also need an Apple ID that is signed into an iCloud account, and the latest version of iOS.

Finally, you'll need a supported card from a participating card issuer. Many United States banks participate in Apple Pay; the full list of banks — both in the United States and around the world — is available on Apple's website.

Frank May / picture-alliance/dpa via Getty Images

How to use Apple Pay on an iPhone while shopping in-store

When shopping in-store, you can either pay with Face ID or Touch ID.

To pay with Face ID, double-click the side button on your phone and then glance at your phone to authenticate with Face ID (you can also enter your passcode). Then, hold the top of your iPhone within a few centimeters of the contactless reader until you see a 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the display.

Paying with Touch ID is similar. Start by resting your finger on the Touch ID button, then hold the top of your iPhone within a few centimeters of the reader until you see a 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the display.

Lorna Roberts / Alamy

How to use Apple Pay on an Apple Watch while shopping in-store

To use your default Apple Pay card, double-click the side button of your Apple Watch and hold the display of the watch a few centimeters from the store's card reader. You can also use a non-default card: before getting ready to pay, double-click the side button on the watch. When the default card appears on the screen, swipe left or right to choose another card, and then hold near the store's card reader to pay.

Wait until you feel a gentle tap, and the transaction will be complete.

Some stores, and some transaction amounts, will require a receipt or entering of a PIN. You may also need to authenticate using FaceID, TouchID, or your secure passcode. If it's a debit transacation, you might be asked to enter a PIN -- according to Apple, you should just enter '0000' or any other four-digit code as a placeholder.

How to use Apple Pay while shopping online

Using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can use Apple Pay while shopping on Safari.

With an iPhone or iPad, first tap the Apple Pay button, then check that the billing, shipping, and contact information is all correct, or enter it if necessary. Apple Pay will store the billing information, so you only need to do it once.

Next, confirm the payment. On a device with Face ID, double-click the side button, then use Face ID or enter your passcode to authenticate. On a device without Face ID, use Touch ID or your passcode; on an Apple Watch, double-click the side button. When the payment is successful, you'll see 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the screen.

When using a Mac computer, there are two different routes, depending on if your computer has Touch ID or not.

If your computer has Touch ID, tap the Apple Pay button, and check that your billing, shipping, and contact information are correct, or enter it if necessary. When you're ready, make your purchase, and then follow the prompts on the Touch Bar. Either place your finger on Touch ID, or, if Touch ID has been turned off, tap the Apple Pay icon on the Touch Bar and follow the prompts that appear on-screen. When the payment is successful, you'll see 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the screen.

With Mac models that don't have Touch ID, it can be trickier -- you'll need an iPhone or Apple Watch to confirm payments, and you need to be signed in with the same Apple ID across all devices. Make sure you've turned on Bluetooth on your Mac.

Tap the Apple Pay button, then check the billing, shipping, and contact information. You can use whatever credit or debit cards that are linked to the iCloud account being used. When you're ready, make your purchase and use either your iPhone or Apple Watch to confirm the payment. If you have an iPhone X or later, double-click the side button, then use Face ID or your passcode to authenticate; if you're using an iPhone 8 or earlier, authenticate with Touch ID or your passcode. If using an Apple Watch, double-click the side button.

When the payment is successful, you'll see 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the screen.

Cristian Dina / Alamy

How to use Apple Pay within apps

With an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you can use Apple Pay to make purchases within apps that list Apple Pay as a payment option.

First, choose Apple Pay as your payment method, then check that the billing, shipping, and contact information listed are all correct, or enter it if necessary. Apple Pay will store the information, so you only need to do it once.

Next, confirm the payment. On a device with Face ID, double-click the side button, then use Face ID or enter your passcode to authenticate. On a device without Face ID, use Touch ID or your passcode; on an Apple Watch, double-click the side button. When the payment is successful, you'll see 'Done' and a checkmark appear on the screen.