Nestled within Passbook (or Wallet in iOS 9), Apple Pay is a relatively new method to make purchases without having to actually fumble around in your wallet to find your debit or credit cards. While Apple Wallet has been around for some time as a place to scan the barcode on and store movie passes and rewards, Apple Pay takes things further by allowing you to make purchases almost magically. It is available on iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus, as well as some iPads and the Apple watch when paired with a compatible smartphone, pending they are equipped with at least iOS 8.
Apple Pay is surprisingly easy to set up. Once downloaded within Passbook or Wallet, you can either manually enter your preferred payment method or take a photo of your actual debit and/or credit cards. You then designate one of those cards as your primary payment method to make it your default card until you choose otherwise. When you go back to review or change defaults, only the last four digits of the cards will be visible as a security measure. Although smartphones have yet to perfect the voice to text function, the camera to text method of entry is highly accurate.
In order to use Apple Pay, all you need is your smartphone and a merchant that uses an NFC reader. Simply wave your phone over the reader and push the Touch ID sensor, also known as your iPhone’s home button. This automatically pays for your purchase, using your default payment method. The entire process is authorized by fingerprint reading through the Touch ID. For additional security, none of your personal information is revealed to the merchant, which also prevents your sensitive data from being intercepted by a third party.
Merchants equipped to accept Apple Pay are widespread in the United States and quickly growing worldwide. While Apple Pay is easy to set up, use, and quite secure, it is not without its issues. Those who don’t live in North America or the U.K. will be hard pressed to find stores where it can be used, in addition to the fact that you will still need to use your actual cards in places where Apple Pay is not accepted and when your iPhone battery goes dead. All in all, however, Apple Pay seems like a winner.