Apple Pay isn’t accepted everywhere (yet), but the day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived: Bank of America is now letting you withdraw cash from its ATMs using Apple Pay. No more digging for your debit card and glancing behind you to see if anyone is hovering too closely. Now you really can leave your wallet at home.
Finding a B of A branch with NFC-compatible ATMs will be the biggest challenge. The machines at the branch near my office in midtown Manhattan were not, so my attempt to test out Apple Pay was a bust. But if your ATMs support NFC, which you can see by the contactless symbol beneath the card reader, then all you have to do is pull out your iPhone, open the Wallet app where your cards are stored, and tap on your B of A debit card. Then hold your phone over the NFC symbol and enter your PIN number on the machine’s keypad. From there, you can select the cash withdrawal option and have cold hard cash in your hand almost immediately.
You won’t be able to deposit cash or checks using this method, only withdraw money, check your balance, or transfer funds to another account.
Cash is still king
Apple Pay’s usefulness is hit or miss. When the stars are aligned—the service supports your credit card issuer or bank and you’ve found a retailer that has embraced the 21st century and accepts it—then paying with your iPhone is the easiest way to pay. It’s much faster than using a chip card, which is not only slower than a swipe card, but also requires a PIN, signature, and the promise of your first-born child, and even then my cards have been skimmed. (So much for being more secure.)
I live in New York, a metropolis too sophisticated for cash, or so I had hoped when I moved here. The reality is that a good chunk of shops and restaurants are cash only or have high card minimums. I doubt Apple Pay will penetrate the city anytime soon, but now that getting cash is easier, my days of paying ATM fees at shady establishments may soon be drawing to a close.
Bank of America plans to expand contactless transaction support to 5,000 ATMs nationwide by the end of this year, the company announced at Google I/O this year. Those ATMs are currently concentrated in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, but other major cities like New York, Boston, and Charlotte are already seeing NFC-supported ATMs pop up. Both Chase and Wells Fargo have also announced plans to support Apple Pay transactions at ATMs.
Have you been able to use Apple Pay to withdraw cash at your local bank branch? Was it easier than using a card? Let us know in the comments.