How to use Apple Pay on your iPhone

Find out how this convenient alternative to using cards and cash works.

GoCompare author
Updated 17 December 2021  | 3 mins read

Alternative to contactless payments

Apple Pay on your iPhone works just like a contactless payment card, for use in shops, restaurants and other outlets where you see the Apple Pay symbol.

You can also use it to pay within apps and online in Safari where Apple Pay is highlighted as a payment option.

Apple Pay works on the Transport for London network too. You just need to tap your iPhone or Apple Watch on the yellow card reader.

How does Apple Pay work?

It replaces your physical cards and cash so you don’t have to carry them around with you.

You just need to add your credit and debit cards to the Wallet app on your iPhone and you can then use your device to pay, just as you would with your cards.

You can add up to eight cards on most devices.

The first card you add to your phone will be your ‘default’ card - so should be the card you intend to use most regularly.

It’s easy to switch to whichever card you want to use at the point of purchase, though - usually just by clicking on the default card on the screen, or on the side button of the phone until alternative cards appear on screen.

All the usual rewards, points and airmiles you normally get when you spend will continue to be applied to your card account.

Apple Pay is compatible with:

  • iPhone models with Face ID
  • iPhone models with Touch ID, except the iPhone 5s

Check if your phone is compatible here.

What banks are on Apple Pay?

Apple Pay works with all the major credit and debit cards from banks and card issuers around the world. A full list of UK banks that support Apple Pay is available here.

How to set up Apple Pay

Apple Pay is already built into your iPhone, so you don’t need to download a separate app.

To set it up, you need to:

  • Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the plus sign to add a credit or debit card.
  • Scan the card using the camera on your phone.
  • You’ll be asked to verify your information with your card issuer.
  • They’ll then send you notification when they’ve approved your card for use with Apple Pay.

Using Apple Pay

Paying in-store

  • If you have an iPhone with Face ID you double click the side button of your phone. Then, authenticate with Face ID by looking at your phone , or enter your passcode.
  • If you have an iPhone with Touch ID, rest your finger on the home button or sensor.
  • You can now pay with your default card. If you want to use a different card, tap on the default card and your other cards will show up on screen. Tap the card you want to use and then authenticate with Face or Touch ID.
  • Hold your phone over the card reader until the transaction is approved - ‘done’ and a tick will appear on your phone screen and your phone will vibrate.

Paying online and in apps

  • Tap the Apple Pay button at checkout.
  • If you need to enter your billing and shipping address, email and phone number, do so. Apple Pay stores the information in settings, so you won’t need to fill in this information every time you shop online after this - it will automatically be added as default.
  • Confirm payment by either double clicking the side button and authenticating with Face ID or your passcode, or using Touch ID.
  • When payment has been accepted and approved your phone will vibrate, and ’done’ and a tick will appear on the screen

Where can I use it?

You can use Apple Pay in shops, restaurants and other outlets where you see the Apple Pay symbol.

It’s also easy to use on the Transport for London network - just touch the card reader with your phone at the train or tube gate as you enter and exit, or as you board a bus.

You can also use it to pay within apps and online in the Safari browser where Apple Pay is highlighted as a payment option.

What are the benefits?

  • It’s a safe and secure way to pay.

Your cards’ numbers aren’t stored on your phone or shared and sent with your payments, so all your details stay safe. Apple Pay gives you a Device Account Number which represents your cards’ information instead. And you need to authorise all transactions using Face or Touch ID or your passcode which adds another layer of security.

  • You can store multiple cards on one device.
  • It means you don’t have to touch any buttons or cash.
  • It’s widely accepted all over the world.
  • Your credit card points and rewards are added as normal as you spend.
  • You can easily keep tabs of what you’ve spent - Apple Pay shows the last 10 transactions of every card on your phone.
  • If you lose your phone, or if it’s stolen, you can go to or use the Find My iPhone app to disable Apple Pay remotely.

What are the disadvantages?

  • There are a small number of cards you won’t be able to use with Apple Pay.
  • Not all retailers accept contactless payments.
  • Some retailers may limit your purchase amount to £100.
  • Older phone models aren’t compatible with Apple Pay.

What are the alternatives to Apple Pay?

Google Pay and Samsung Pay are digital wallets for android phone users that work in a similar way to Apple Pay.