Have you heard about one of the newest ways to pay using your iPhone? We’ve talked about Android Pay before, but haven’t fully unpacked everything that Apple’s mobile payment option has to offer. If you’re new to the idea or haven’t used Apple Pay before, check out this guide of everything you need to know about Apple’s digital wallet service.

Apple Pay — the Details

Mobile payments are not exactly a new idea — Apple is competing with both Android Pay and Samsung Pay for a share of the digital wallet world. Each company’s mobile payment offering comes with its own sets of pros and cons, but here are a few of the most important aspects to consider for Apple Pay:

  • Apple Pay was announced over a year ago at the iPhone 6 event. The service is only available for mobile on iPhone 6, 6 Plus and later devices. It can also be used on iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 3 and all later devices.
  • To use Apple Pay, you simply hold the top of your phone, iPad or watch near the contactless reader. You’ll be prompted to select a card — either your default card or another — and then confirm your identity by placing your finger on Touch ID.
  • Apple Pay is generally not accepted at as many places as its rivals, and may come with additional stipulations on how large of a purchase you can make, but this is changing as more companies and banks are coming on board and beginning to work with Apple.
  • Individuals using Apple Pay can do so on any terminal that has NFC technology. This is a major difference from its competitors, as Samsung Pay can be used on any terminal, regardless of whether or not the terminal possesses the NFC technology.
  • In addition to in-store purchases, Apple Pay can be used for online and app purchases as well. This can be done by selecting the Buy With Apple Pay option as your preferred payment during checkout.
  • 2016 will be bringing several new partnerships for Apple Pay, such as Starbucks, JC Penney, Cinnabon and more.

Security Considerations

The reason many are flocking to the idea of using digital wallets and mobile payment options is the increased level of security that comes with using such a payment option. By removing the act of swiping your physical card, you remove the change that someone is able to get your credit card or bank information.

Apple Pay adds an additional layer of security by requiring a fingerprint confirmation in addition to the contactless payment. If you choose to pay using your Apple Watch, you’ll be asked to enter a four digit pin every time you take your watch off or if it has lost contact with your skin (e.g. you’ve taken your watch off and handed it to a friend.) This removes the possibility of your watch being stolen and used to make payments.

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