The ultimate guide to how and where to use Apple Pay

Here's everything you need to know about Apple Pay and its ins and outs, plus an up-to-date list of Apple Pay-ready stores and apps. The latest? Apple Pay just got 23 new bank partners.

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It’s official: Tim Cook named 2015 as “the year of Apple Pay.” Apple’s flagship mobile payment platform is off to a running start in the U.S., with support for an impressive number of banking partners and retail stores that’s practically growing by the day. And iPhone users are rampantly using it—Whole Foods Market has seen mobile payments increase by more than 400 percent since Apple Pay launched in October 2014. And pretty soon, you'll even get to use it at mom-and-pop shops thanks to its Square integration.

Ready to start using it yourself? Read on to learn more about how Apple Pay works, how to get your iPhone ready for it, and most importantly, where you can go test it out. We’ll keep this page up-to-date as more banks, stores, and apps gain Apple Pay support, too. 

What’s the latest?

So many new banks! On July 7, Apple added 23 more U.S. banks and credit unions to its ever-growing list of partners. The new additions include:

  • American Chartered Bank
  • Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
  • Bellco Credit Union
  • EFCU Financial 
  • First Federal 
  • First National Bank
  • Health Care Systems Federal Credit Union 
  • Keesler Federal Credit Union
  • Kemba Credit Union
  • Members 1st Federal Credit Union
  • NorthStart Credit Union 
  • Parsons Federal Credit Union 
  • Pinnacle Bank 
  • Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union 
  • Service Credit Union 
  • SRP Federal Credit Union
  • SUMA (Yonkers) FCU
  • Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union
  • Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Tri County Area Federal Credit Union
  • Trona Valley Federal Credit Union
  • United Teletech Financial 
  • Winthrop Area FCU

Want to use Apple Pay? Get your iPhone ready

In order to use Apple Pay, you need to have a compatible device and the right version of iOS. For in-store purchases, Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which are the only iPhones equipped with the requisite NFC radio antennae. Besides NFC compatibility, the other piece of the hardware puzzle is a Touch ID sensor, but iPhone 5S owners are out of luck. For in-app purchases, Apple Pay works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3—again, thanks to the Touch ID sensor.

You’ll also need to update your iPhone to iOS 8.1 or newer, which will turn on your phone’s Apple Pay feature.

Once your iPhone is in order, you’ll need to link up a credit or debit card to use for payments. If you already have a card linked to your Apple ID for making iTunes and App Store purchases, you can opt to keep using that card with Apple Pay.

You can also add different cards—just launch Passbook and tap the plus-sign in the top-right corner. You’ll then be prompted to add either a credit or debit card to use with Apple Pay, or another pass to store in Passbook. Tap “Add Another Card,” then follow the entry fields on the next screen. You can speed this up by taking a picture of your card with your iPhone.

Whether you’re using the card already linked to your Apple ID or adding a new one, your iPhone will guide you through the setup process, which includes verifying your card, granting Apple Pay access, and then storing it in Passbook. Be sure to have your card handy so you can verify the card with its security code.

The card linked to your Apple ID will be listed as your default Apple Pay card, but you can always change that by going to Settings > Passbook & Apple Pay and updating your transaction default information.

Apple Pay on the Apple Watch

To set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, you’ll use the Apple Watch app for iPhone. In the My Watch tab, scroll down to Passbook & Apple Pay. In that section, you can mirror the alerts that show on your iPhone, or choose Custom and elect to have alerts come to your watch or not.

Even if you are already using Apple Pay on your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll need to add your cards again to your Apple Watch. Luckily, setting up your cards is pretty easy. You can use the iPhone’s camera to capture the info on the front of the card: Account number, cardholder’s name, expiration date. You’re then asked to verify that it detected the right info, and add the three-digit code on the back of your card. Each credit card company has a different verification system, so you might need to be a little patient.

apple pay setup 3up

Once you’re set up, you can find your debit/credit cards in the Passbook app on the watch, but it’s much faster to use the shortcut. Just double-press the button underneath the Digital Crown, the same button you press once for the Friends ring and Digital Touch feature. Pressing twice will bring up your default Apple Pay card, with your other cards available too if you’d like to select a different one.

How it works

When buying something at a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll hold your iPhone up to a wireless payment terminal near the cash register, and then use Touch ID to complete your purchase. These sensors are the same ones you’ve already seen in stores, often equipped with both card swipers and a tap-to-pay contactless terminal. The beauty of Apple Pay is that you don’t even need to wake up your iPhone or launch Passbook—your phone wakes up automatically when it gets in range of the terminal and initiates the payment process.

mcdonalds apple pay McDonald’s

Scan your phone, and press Touch ID. That’s it. 

If you’re buying something through a partnered online store on your iPhone, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3, you’ll just use Touch ID to complete the purchase. Depending on the app, you may have to toggle on a setting to allow the app to access Apple Pay, or to set Apple Pay as your default method of payment.

If you’re buying something with your Apple Watch, double-press the button underneath the Digital Crown. Pressing twice will bring up your default Apple Pay card, with your other cards available too if you’d like to select a different one.

Once you pick the card you want to use, you’ll just hold your Watch close to the contactless payment terminal until you hear a beep and/or feel a vibration. It helps if you turn the Watch face toward the payment terminal, almost smooshing them together like they’re kissing. So you typically can’t see the watch’s face while the payment is happening, unlike when using Apple Pay on an iPhone, where the screen is typically facing you.

apple watch apple pay

Depending on the retailer, the card you’re using, and the value of your purchase, you might need to enter your PIN or provide a signature to complete the transaction.

Get shopping 

What makes Apple Pay such a game-changer is how many retail partners the platform has, with new stores being added constantly. Besides the Apple Store, you can use Apple Pay at these brick-and-mortar locations:

  • Acme
  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Babies ‘R’ Us
  • Bashas'
  • Bi-Lo
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Champs Sports
  • Chevron and Texaco, including retail stores like ExtraMile
  • Coca-Cola vending
  • Dan's Fresh Market
  • Davis Food & Drug
  • Dick's Fresh Market
  • The Disney Store
  • Duane Reade
  • Express
  • FireHouse Subs
  • FoodMaxx
  • Foot Locker, including Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, House of Hoops, and Run by Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • Fuddruckers
  • GameStop
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Harveys Supermarket
  • Jamba Juice
  • JetBlue
  • Jewel Osco
  • Lego
  • Lin's Fresh Market
  • Luby’s
  • Lucky
  • Maceys
  • Macy’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Meijer
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • OfficeMax
  • Orlando Magic
  • Panera Bread
  • Peet's Coffee
  • Pep Boys
  • Petco and Unleashed by Petco
  • Phoenix Suns
  • RadioShack
  • Rubio’s
  • Save Mart Supermarkets
  • Select kiosks, vending machines, and self-pay stations (in partnership with USA Technologies)
  • Sephora
  • Shaws
  • Six:02
  • Sports Authority
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Staples
  • Star Market
  • Subway
  • Toys ‘R’ Us
  • United Supermarkets
  • Walgreens
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Winn-Dixie

A few more stores will rollout Apple Pay compatibility sometime in 2015:

  • Albertsons
  • Anthropologie
  • B&H Photo
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Best Buy
  • BevMo
  • Big Lots
  • Carmike Cinemas
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Edition
  • El Pollo Loco
  • Forever 21
  • Free People
  • JCPenney
  • Jersey Mike's Subs
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Kohl's
  • Levi's
  • L.L. Bean
  • Marriott 
  • Raley's
  • Regal Cinemas
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • T-Mobile stores
  • Trader Joes
  • Urban Outfitters
  • White Castle

For in-app checkouts, Apple Pay works with an overflowing handful of apps:

  • 1:1 Nutrition
  • 11 Main Shopping
  • 20Stamps
  • Airbnb
  • Apple Store app
  • B&H Photo
  • Best Buy
  • Caviar
  • Chairish
  • CityKart
  • Cleanly
  • Coach.me
  • Cole Hahn
  • Cover
  • Craftsy
  • Dapper
  • Dealflicks Movies
  • Delectable Wines
  • Disney Store
  • DoorDash
  • Downtown
  • Drync
  • Dwellable Vacation Rentals
  • Etsy
  • Eventbrite
  • Fancy
  • Fiverr Faces
  • Flextrip
  • Flywheel
  • Fountain
  • Gametime
  • Giftbook
  • GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine
  • Groupon
  • Gyft
  • HealthTap
  • Highball
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Houzz
  • Indiegogo
  • Instacart
  • JackThreads
  • Keep Shopping
  • Kickstarter
  • Kinsa Smart Thermometer 
  • Levi’s Stadium
  • LIFX
  • Lion Tee
  • LivingSocial
  • LiquidSpace
  • LoungeBuddy
  • Lyft
  • Makr
  • Merchbar
  • MikMak
  • Miner
  • MLB.com
  • Moxy
  • Munchery
  • Nowvel PhotoBooks
  • Openbay
  • OpenTable
  • Orange Harp Shopping
  • Pamper
  • Panera Bread
  • ParkWhiz
  • Photolane by Zoomin
  • Pose
  • Postmates
  • Priceline
  • Print Studio
  • Printicular
  • Qardio Heart Health 
  • RadPad
  • Raise
  • The RealReal
  • Red Tricycle San Francisco
  • Rukkus Tickets
  • Saatchi Art
  • Savory
  • ScanKart
  • SeatGeek Tickets
  • Sephora to Go
  • Shoptiques
  • Slow Fast Slow - Control the Speed of your Videos
  • Smith: Home Remodeling
  • Sosh
  • SpotHero - Parking Deals
  • Spring
  • Spruce
  • Staples
  • Starbucks
  • Stayful
  • StubHub
  • StyleIt
  • Swalve Thermometer 
  • Sweetness
  • Target
  • ThirdLove
  • Threadflip
  • Ticketmaster
  • TickPick
  • TopShelf Alcohol Delivery
  • TouchOfModern
  • Type Tees
  • Uber
  • Vango Art
  • Vida Health Coach
  • YPlan
  • Yoshirt
  • YourMechanic
  • Zumper Apartments & Houses for Rent

Also, JetBlue accepts Apple Pay payments on select flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and the airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a fleet-wide Apple Pay rollout expected for later in 2015. Passengers can use Apple Pay to purchase in-air snacks, drinks, entertainment, and seat upgrades. Flight attendants will use iPad minis equipped with NFC-enabled cases to complete transactions, and the system will accept traditional credit and debit card transactions as well. By June, 3500 JetBlue flight attendants will have the Apple Pay-ready iPad minis. 

While JetBlue is paving the way, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple Pay accepted by other airlines as well. The next likely candidate is United Airlines, which already has released plans to equip 23,000 flight attendants with an iPhone 6 Plus for on board use later this year. However, they haven’t announced any plans for Apple Pay integration yet.

Supported banks and credit unions

Apple Pay is supported by a plethora of U.S. banks, credit unions, and credit card companies. 

As of July 8, Apple’s confirmed partners are: 

  • 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union
  • A+ Federal Credit Union
  • Affinity Federal Credit Union
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
  • Alliant Credit Union
  • Altra Federal Credit Union
  • Amegy Bank of Texas
  • America First Credit Union
  • America’s Christian Credit Union
  • America’s Credit Union
  • American Airlines Credit Union
  • American Chartered Bank
  • American Express
  • American Savings Bank
  • AmeriCU Credit Union
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union
  • Apple Federal Credit Union
  • Arizona Federal Credit Union
  • Associated Bank
  • Austin Telco Federal Credit Union
  • Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Bank of Utah
  • Bankers Trust
  • BankPlus
  • Banner Bank
  • Barclaycard
  • Baxter Credit Union
  • BayPort Credit Union
  • BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust)
  • BBVA Compass
  • BECU (Boeing Employees’ Credit Union
  • Bellco Credit Union
  • Bellco Federal Credit Union
  • Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  • Black Hills Federal Credit Union
  • BMI Federal Credit Union
  • BMO Harris N.A.
  • Cabela’s CLUB
  • California Bank & Trust
  • California Coast Credit Union
  • Cambridge Savings Bank
  • Campus USA Credit Union
  • Canton School Employees FCU
  • Capital City Bank
  • Capital One
  • Centennial Bank
  • Centier Bank
  • Central Bank
  • Central Minnesota Credit Union
  • CFE Federal Credit Union
  • Changing Seasons FCU
  • Charles Schwab Bank
  • Chase
  • Chrome Federal Credit Union
  • Citadel Federal Credit Union
  • Citi
  • Citizens Bank & Trust
  • Citizens Equity First Credit Union
  • City Employees Credit Union
  • City National Bank
  • Clearview Federal Credit Union
  • Coastline Federal Credit Union
  • Commerce Bank
  • Commonwealth Credit Union
  • Community Choice Credit Union
  • Community First Credit Union (CFCU)
  • Connex Credit Union
  • Consumers Cooperative Credit Union
  • Consumers Credit Union
  • Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union
  • Credit Union of Southern California
  • Customers Bank
  • Cyprus Federal Credit Union
  • Deseret First Federal Credit Union
  • Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
  • DFCU Financial
  • Digital Federal Credit Union
  • Discover (launching in Fall 2015)
  • Dupaco Community Credit Union
  • DuPont Community Credit Union 
  • Educational Systems FCU
  • EFCU Financial
  • Ent Federal Credit Union
  • ESL Federal Credit Union 
  • Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union
  • F&A Federal Credit Union
  • Fairfax County Federal Credit Union
  • FAIRWINDS Credit Union
  • Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • First Community Bank & Trust
  • First Community Credit Union
  • First Credit Union
  • First Entertainment Credit Union
  • First Federal
  • First Fidelity Bank
  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • First National Bank
  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • First National Bank of Pennsylvania 
  • First Niagara Bank
  • First Sentry Bank
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • First Tennessee Bank
  • FirstBank
  • Foothill Credit Union
  • Founders Federal Credit Union
  • Frankenmuth Credit Union
  • Fremont Bank
  • Glenview State Bank
  • Global Credit Union
  • Golden 1 Credit Union
  • Goldenwest FCU
  • Granite Credit Union
  • Great Basin Federal Credit Union
  • Greater Texas FCU
  • Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
  • GTE Financial 
  • Guaranty Bank & Trust
  • Gulf Winds FCU
  • HAPO Community Credit Union
  • Health Care Systems Federal Credit Union
  • Hilltop National Bank
  • Hiway Federal Credit Union
  • Hoosier Hills Credit Union
  • Hughes Federal Credit Union
  • Huntington Bank
  • IBERIABANK
  • IBM Southeast Employees’ Federal Credit Union
  • Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Ideal Credit Union
  • Illinois State Police Federal Credit Union
  • Independent Bank 
  • INOVA Federal Credit Union
  • iQ Credit Union
  • J.P. Morgan
  • JSC Federal Credit Union
  • Jordan Credit Union
  • Keesler Federal Credit Union
  • Kemba Credit Union
  • Kemba Financial Credit Union
  • KeyBank
  • KeyPoint Credit Union
  • L & N Federal Credit Union
  • Lafayette Federal Union
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union
  • Landmark Credit Union
  • Langley Federal Credit Union
  • Legend Bank
  • Lister Hill Credit Union
  • Logix Federal Credit Union
  • Los Angeles Federal Credit Union
  • M&T Bank
  • MasterCard
  • Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Meijer Credit Union
  • Members 1st Federal Credit Union
  • Members First Credit Union
  • Mercantile Bank of Michigan
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • MidFirst Bank
  • MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
  • Mission Federal Credit Union
  • Missoula Federal Credit Union 
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mountain America Credit Union
  • Municipal Credit Union
  • National Bank of Arizona
  • National Institutes of Health FCU
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NBT Bank
  • Nevada State Bank
  • New England Federal Credit Union
  • North Country Federal Credit Union
  • North Shore Bank
  • Northrup Gumman Federal Credit Union
  • NorthStart Credit Union
  • Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union
  • Old National Bank
  • ORNL Federal Credit Union
  • Parsons Federal Credit Union
  • Partners Federal Credit Union
  • Patelco Credit Union
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • People's United Bank
  • Peoples Bank
  • Pima Federal Credit Union
  • Pinnacle Bank
  • PNC
  • PointBank
  • Point Loma Credit Union
  • Prestige Community Credit Union
  • Prosperity Bank
  • Provident Credit Union
  • Publix Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Quorum Federal Credit Union
  • Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union
  • RBC Bank
  • Redwood Credit Union
  • Regions Bank
  • Robins Federal Credit Union
  • Royal Credit Union
  • Sacramento Credit Union
  • Salem Five Bank
  • San Diego County Credit Union
  • San Mateo Credit Union
  • San Francisco Fire Credit Union
  • Sandy Spring Bank
  • Savings Bank of Danbury
  • Schools Financial Credit Union
  • Schools First Federal Credit Union
  • Security Service Federal Credit Union
  • SEFCU
  • Service Credit Union
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • SkyOne Federal Credit Union
  • South State Bank
  • Spokane Teachers Federal Credit Union
  • SRP Federal Credit Union
  • Staley Credit Union
  • Star One Credit Union
  • State Department Federal Credit Union
  • Stockman Bank of Montana
  • SUMA (Yonkers) FCU
  • Suncoast Credit Union
  • SunTrust
  • Synovus Bank
  • Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union
  • TCF National Bank
  • TD Bank N.A.
  • Teachers Credit Union
  • Technicolor Federal Credit Union
  • Technology Credit Union
  • Telhio Credit Union
  • Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union
  • The Bank of Greene County
  • The Northern Trust Company
  • TIB—The Independent BankersBank
  • Town & Country FCU
  • Town Square Bank
  • Transportation FCU
  • Tri County Area Federal Credit Union
  • Trona Valley Federal Credit Union
  • True North Federal Credit Union
  • Truity Federal Credit Union
  • TruMark Financial Credit Union
  • U.S. Bank
  • U.S. Trust
  • UBS Bank USA
  • UMB Bank, n.a.
  • United Federal Credit Union
  • United Nations FCU
  • United Teletech Financial 
  • University First Federal Credit Union
  • US Federal Credit Union
  • USAA
  • USAlliance Federal Credit Union
  • USC Credit Union
  • Utah Community Federal Credit Union
  • Utah First Federal Credit Union
  • UW Credit Union
  • Uwharrie Bank
  • Vantage Credit Union
  • Vectra Bank
  • Veridian Credit Union
  • Vermont State Employees CU
  • Virginia Credit Union
  • Visa
  • VyStar Credit Union
  • Wanigas Credit Union
  • Waukesha State Bank
  • Wells Fargo
  • WesBanco Bank
  • Wescom Credit Union
  • West Community Credit Union
  • Western Federal Credit Union
  • Western Union
  • Wings Financial Credit Union
  • Winthrop Area FCU
  • Wood & Huston Bank
  • Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union
  • Zions First National Bank

Where have you been using Apple Pay? Let us know in the comments.

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