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The ultimate guide to how and where to use Apple Pay

Leah Yamshon, Caitlin McGarry | April 29, 2015
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? Best Buy now supports Apple Pay for in-app purchases and this fall will begin accepting Apple Pay in its stores nationwide.

If you already have one of these partner cards 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.

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.

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.

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
  • Bi-Lo
  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Champs Sports
  • Chevron and Texaco, including retail stores like ExtraMile
  • Davis Food & Drug
  • The Disney Store
  • Duane Reade
  • FireHouse Subs
  • FoodMaxx
  • Foot Locker, including Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, House of Hoops, and Run by Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • GameStop
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Harveys Supermarket
  • Jewel Osco
  • Luby's
  • Lucky
  • Macy's
  • McDonald's
  • Meijer
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • Orlando Magic
  • Panera Bread
  • 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
  • T-Mobile stores
  • Toys 'R' Us
  • United Supermarkets
  • Walgreens
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Winn-Dixie


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