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Is Apple Pay safe? Your questions answered

How to set up Apple Pay on iPhone

Ever find yourself at the supermarket checkout counter, groceries in hand, only to realize you left your wallet at home? It's frustrating, but it doesn't have to be.

Apple Pay® turns your iPhone® (or iPad®, Apple Watch®, or Mac®) into a credit or debit card, letting you buy items in stores, apps, and on websites without handing over a card. You can even send money to family and friends. That sounds cool, but if you're like most folks, you may have some security concerns. Is Apple Pay safe? What are the risks of using Apple Pay? And is Apple Pay really safer than a credit card?

Don't worry. At Asurion, our experts work 24/7 to provide our 300 million customers with solutions for all of their tech-care needs. Here's their guide to understanding Apple Pay and whether it's right for you.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a digital payment system linking your credit or debit card to your mobile device so you can make purchases and transfer money. You can find Apple Pay in the Apple Wallet® app and use it everywhere from taxis and subway stations to pharmacies and websites, without your actual card.

Apple Pay is a free service. It's accepted by many U.S. retailers and works with all major debit and credit cards from banks around the world (here's a list).

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay sends your credit card information to a merchant via near-field communication. Much like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®, this technology transmits information from one device to another, as long as they're within 2 inches of each other. It takes less than one-tenth of a second for the two devices to establish a connection. All you need to do is confirm your identity with Face ID® or Touch ID®, then tap your Apple device to the merchant's card reader to finalize the payment.

How secure is Apple Pay?

No payment system is 100% reliable 100% of the time, but contactless payments are actually safer than a physical card. Here's why:

Apple Pay provides security

Apple Pay requires you to use Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to make a purchase. So even if your phone is stolen, no one else can use your Apple Pay to buy something. On the other hand, a thief could easily use your stolen credit card at a store that doesn't match IDs and cards. Keep in mind, Visa®, Mastercard®, Discover™, and American Express® don't require signatures anymore, either.

Apple Pay provides extra privacy

Apple Pay doesn't share your card number with merchants, nor does it store your details on your device or Apple servers. Instead, Apple Pay uses a unique, one-time passcode whenever you make a purchase. This hides your sensitive account information. The merchant will only receive your name, email, billing, and shipping addresses, and anything else necessary to process the order.

You can suspend Apple Pay anytime

If you lose your device or suspect someone is making unauthorized purchases, you can turn off Apple Pay through iCloud® as long as you've enabled the Find My iPhone feature. Simply select Lost Mode.

How to protect your Apple Pay

As secure as Apple Pay is, you can implement additional security features to keep your device and cards safe. Here's what our experts recommend:

Secure your Apple Pay passcode

Use a complex passcode on your Apple device, and don't share it with anyone. If someone were to learn your passcode, they could create their own biometric profile on your device, allowing them to make mobile payments through your Apple Pay.

Use Face or Touch ID on Apple Pay

Adding your biometrics, like touch or facial recognition, to Apple Pay isn't required, but it's a good idea—they're a lot harder to crack than a four-digit passcode.

Never add a card to Apple Pay using an unsecured Wi-Fi network

Lots of coffee shops and airports have public Wi-Fi hotspots, but they don't always offer a high level of protection. That means information you transfer online—like your card info—could end up in the hands of thieves spying on public Wi-Fi networks in hopes of intercepting data. So avoid adding your debit or credit card info to Apple Pay on public Wi-Fi. Instead, do it at home on your password-protected network. For more tips, check out our guide on how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi.

Practice good security habits with Apple Pay

Always confirm payment amounts before tapping your device to pay, and never send money to suspicious merchants or unknown websites.

How to set up Apple Pay on your iPhone

  1. Open the Wallet app.
  2. Tap the plus (+) sign on the upper-right corner.
  3. Choose the type of card you're uploading: Debit or Credit Card.
  4. Tap Continue.
  5. A camera frame will automatically appear. Position your card in the frame, and your phone will automatically capture your details. If you'd rather enter your details yourself, tap Enter Card Details Manually at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts.
  6. Verify your information with your bank or card issuer—you may have to download an app to get your bank's approval to use Apple Pay.

Now your card is stored in your Wallet app. You can upload multiple cards, and any benefits and rewards you receive on your card will automatically transfer. And if you have a paired Apple Watch, you can also add a default card to your watch. 

How to set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch

  1. Open the Wallet app.
  2. Scroll down, and tap Add Card.
  3. To add a new card, tap Debit or Credit Card to add a new card. To add a card you added before in the Wallet app previously, tap Previous Card and choose a card.
  4. Tap Continue.
  5. Follow the onscreen steps to enter your card information and add your card.
  6. You may be required to verify your card information using the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone—you may have to download an app to get your bank's approval to use Apple Pay.

Add a card for Apple Pay with the Apple Watch app on your iPhone:

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.
  2. In the My Watch tab, tap Wallet & Apple Pay.
  3. Tap Add Card.
  4. To add a new card, tap Debit or Credit Card to add a new card. To add a card you added before in the Wallet app previously, tap Previous Card and choose a card.
  5. Tap Continue.
  6. Follow the onscreen steps to add your card.
  7. If necessary, verify your information with the bank or card issuer—you may have to download an app to get your bank's approval to use Apple Pay.

How to set up Apple Pay on your Mac or iPad

  1. Open Wallet settings on your device: On a Mac with Touch ID: Click System Preferences > Wallet & Apple PayOn an iPad: Tap Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay.
  2. Tap Add Card.
  3. Follow the onscreen steps to add a card.
  4. Verify your information with your bank or card issuer.

Tried these steps and still need help? We got you. Get your tech problem solved when you call or chat with an expert now.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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