How to Use Apple Pay with Your Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

Because you’re wearing Apple Watch as opposed to holding it, Apple Pay on Apple Watch is even easier and faster to use at retail than an iPhone. Simply wave your Apple Watch over a contactless terminal at a supporting retailer.

Those wearing an Apple Watch can keep their phones tucked away in a purse or pocket — or even left at home if preferred — but the payment process is similar.

To pay for something with your Apple Watch, follow these steps.

  1. Step up to a contactless point-of-sale terminal.

    Yes, this is the same one used for supported smartphones and NFC-enabled cards, such as Visa’s PayWave, MasterCard’s PayPass, and Amex’s ExpressPay. The person behind you might not be sure what you’re doing. Just smile and proceed to the next step.

  2. Double-click the Side button on Apple Watch.

    You’re now ready to make the digital handshake.

  3. Hold the face up to the terminal, and within a second or two, a tone and slight vibration confirms your payment information has been successfully sent.

    You won’t need to open an Apple Pay app on the watch or anything like that. No wonder Apple calls it “Your wallet. Without a wallet.”

You will, though, have to open the Apple Pay app if you want to switch cards while paying. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Double-tap the Side button to bring up Passbook.

    You can also say “Hey, Siri, Passbook” or press the Digital Crown button and find and tap the Passbook app. This is a similar process to paying using Apple Pay, but don’t hold your watch up to the contactless terminal just yet.

  2. Swipe up or down with your fingertip or twist the Digital Crown button to browse through your cards.

  3. Select the card you want.

  4. Hold the Apple Watch face near the NFC reader to pay.

    You should feel a slight vibration and hear a small chime to confirm the transaction was successfully completed.

You might start using Apple Pay with your Apple Watch quite a bit. During Apple’s Spring Forward event in early March 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook proudly confirmed that 2,500 banks as well as roughly 700,000 retail locations (and even some vending machines) now support Apple Pay. Not bad for a technology that only debuted on October 20, 2014 — and just in the United States. (Apple Pay should be available in Canada and the United Kingdom in late 2015.)

Apple Watch works with any iPhone 5 or newer, but only the iPhone 6 and newer, the latest (2014) iPads and newer, and Apple Watch can use Apple Pay. That said, you can still set up Apple Pay for Apple Watch with an iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, or iPhone 5C because the required Secure Element is in the watch (and not on the older iPhones).