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How to set up and use Apple Pay on an Apple Watch

Here's how to add and use your favorite debit or credit card from your wrist.
July 1, 2021

Paying for things with an Apple Watch is super convenient. Once you’ve tried it, it can be hard going back to card payments! You don’t need to reach for your wallet or phone, and with the current pandemic, it’s nice that you don’t need to touch the potentially contaminated payment terminal.

Want to know how to set up this neat feature? We’ll walk you through that process so that you can shop at the local store with a turn of the wrist.

Add a card to Apple Pay on your Apple Watch

apple watch apple pay

There are two ways to go about adding a credit or debit card to Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, but they’re both uncomplicated and share similar steps. Be sure to have your payment card and iPhone ready and ensure that your card provider supports Apple Pay. You may also need the official app for your bank or card company.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Wallet & Apple Pay.
  3. If you’ve already added at least one card on another Apple device, tap it here and enter the card’s security codes. Otherwise, follow the next steps to enter a new card.
  4. Tap Add Card.
  5. You’ll have the option of either scanning the card or entering its digits manually. In both cases, you’ll need to add security codes.
  6. Tap Next. Your bank or card provider will need to verify the card before it can be used. This sometimes requires an app from the card provider, but the verification is usually quick once that app is ready.
  7. You might also need to verify that it’s you by receiving an SMS and entering a numerical code. Again, this is very quick and easy.
  8. Once the card is verified, tap Next to enable Apple Pay for that card.
  9. If you have multiple cards, be sure to return to Wallet & Apple Pay and tap Default card to choose the card you prefer to use for most transactions.

Use Apple Pay for retail purchases

apple watch apple pay card

Once you’ve set up Apple Pay on your watch, using it is typically very simple. There are some things to consider depending on where you live and what you’re buying, however.

  1. When ready to pay, double-tap the side button on your watch. Your default card should appear. You can swipe left and right to switch cards.
  2. Turn the watch screen toward the payment terminal and get up close. You’ll hear a sound, feel a tap and see a confirmation on the screen if the payment completes successfully.
  3. Many countries have transaction limits for Apple Pay, so you may need to use your physical card for large purchases.
  4. You may still need to sign a receipt or enter a PIN code.
  5. If you’re using Apple Cash, you’ll still have to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. If asked for a PIN, any four-digit code will work.

Use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch to confirm purchases in apps or in Safari

You can also use your Apple Watch to approve Apple Pay purchases on other devices, either in apps or on the web using Safari. You won’t often need this on an iPhone, iPad, or Touch ID-equipped Macs, but it’s useful to know.

  1. Tap the Apple Pay button in the app or website when you’re ready to buy.
  2. Enter or verify your billing and shipping information, and tap > next to your card if you want to use a different payment card.
  3. Confirm the payment by double-tapping the side button on your watch. You’ll receive a confirmation on your watch screen if the purchase is completed successfully.

Next: The most common Apple Watch problems and how to fix them