My hubby, Mike, hasn’t been a wallet man since our honeymoon purchase of a money clip, so the thought of ditching the plastic and paying for purchases with his iPhone is a tempting one. But before he makes the switch, we need to know how it works, how to use it and what the benefits are besides lightening the load in his pocket.

 

How it works

Apple has revolutionized the way we conduct our day-to-day lives with its continuous production of must-have technology. Apple Pay, launched in October 2014, is one of its recent technology releases.

Instead of pulling out your wallet, swiping your card and entering a PIN number or signing, customers can easily make a purchase with the tips of their fingers — literally. In stores, customers hold their phones within a few inches of the NFC terminal at the register and then authorize the payment by placing their fingers on the Touch ID.

Apple Pay is a new mobile payment feature available on the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and Apple Watch. This quick and easy payment method is made possible with the use of contactless readers and Near Field Communication antennas as well as the Touch ID feature on the iPhone 6.

Using Apple Pay ensures that your debit or credit card number is never shared when making a payment. Each Apple Pay user is assigned a one-of-a-kind Device Account Number that is coded and securely stored on the Secure Element chip in the Apple device. The Device Account Number is then used to process payments rather than the actual credit or debit card number.

 

How to use Apple Pay on your iPhone 6

  1. Update to iOS v8.1, or make sure you’re already running it.
  2. Open the Passbook app already installed on your Apple device to either access the credit card information already synced up with your iTunes account or to add a credit or debit card. You can either manually enter your credit card information or snap a photo of your card using the camera on your phone.
  3. When shopping, ask if the store accepts Apple Pay, or look for the icon on the NFC terminal at checkout.
  4. Point your phone or device toward the machine to pay, and Apple Pay will pop up and request your touch ID to approve the transaction.
  5. Your phone or device will vibrate when the transaction is complete.

 

Who accepts Apple Pay?

From McDonalds to Macy’s, Petco to Panera, Apple Pay can already be used in a variety of chain stores and restaurants. Apps for Target, Staples, Groupon, Uber and more also allow for quick Apple Pay transactions. You can visit apple.com/apple-pay for a more complete list of participating stores and apps.

 

What about Google Wallet?

Google Wallet, another mobile payment system with a tap-and-pay feature created in 2011, can be accessed by downloading the app and then adding credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards. One of the main differences between Google Wallet and Apple Pay is how the contactless payment method works. Google Wallet requires users to unlock their phones and enter their four-digit PIN numbers; users can verify a payment through Apple Pay by simply using the Touch ID with their fingerprints. You can leave your Google Wallet unlocked for a set time period, but this obviously compromises the security of the system.

However, one area in particular where Google Wallet trumps Apple Pay is credit card acceptance. Google Wallet accepts all debit and credit cards; options for Apple Pay are limited to Visa, MasterCard or American Express cards in conjunction with participating banks.

Regardless of whether you’re using Apple Pay or Google Wallet, some retailers still require users to sign for a payment if it’s more than $25 or another specified amount, which adds a bit of time and effort to the transaction.

 

Apple Pay issuers

Apple Pay currently works with major credit cards including: Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cards from the following banks can be added to Apple Pay:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • J.P. Morgan
  • M&T Bank
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • PNC
  • Regions Bank
  • SunTrust
  • U.S. Bank
  • U.S Trust
  • USAA
  • Wells Fargo

All personal credit and most personal debit cards issued from these banks work with Apple Pay. Limitations exist with co-branded cards, small-business credit and debit cards and prepaid cards. Corporate cards do not work with Apply Pay. Nevertheless, Apple is continuing to work with more banks in an effort to gain widespread support for Apple Pay.

After all this research, the question remains: Will Mike use Apple Pay? I think he will; he’s a pretty early adopter and lover of convenience. Now, like thousands of other consumers, we just have to wait for the arrival of his iPhone 6 to get started.

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