How to add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay

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Apple Pay lets you make in-store purchases with your iPhone, and online purchases with your iPhone or iPad, with just a touch of the Home button or the tapping out of a passcode. It makes it easy to start ditching your wallet for your device. All you have to do is add your credit or debit cards.

How to set up your existing iTunes credit or debit card with Apple Pay

Assuming it's supported, adding your existing iTunes credit or debit card to Apple Pay is a breeze.

  1. Launch the Passbook app from your Home screen.
  2. Swipe down to reveal the + button.
  3. Tap on the + button.
  4. Enter the card's three digit security code.
  5. Wait for your bank to authorize the card (see below).
  6. Accept the terms and conditions.

How to set up additional credit or debit cards with Apple Pay.

  1. Launch the Passbook app from your Home screen.
  2. Swipe down to reveal the + button.
  3. Tap on the + button.
  4. Manually enter, or scan with the camera, your credit or debit card information.
  5. Manually enter the three digit security code.
  6. Wait for your bank to authorize the card (see below).
  7. Accept the terms and conditions.

Note: Apple Pay's photo-detection only works on with embossed numbers; if you have a credit or debit card with flat numbers, you'll have to enter it manually.

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Different banks have different procedures when it comes to authorizing cards for Apple Pay. Capital One, for example, automatically adds and activates your card for Apple Pay after you accept your terms and conditions. Citibank, however, requires an activation code; to get it, the bank will robo-call or text the number you have on file.

If you're having trouble getting Apple Pay to accept your card, the simplest solution is to just try entering in your information again; I had no luck activating my cards on Monday evening, but entering in the same information on Tuesday morning worked like a charm.

Worst-case, you may just need to call your card issuer. For example, the last card I tried to set up never sent the verification code to my phone number on file, so I had to manually retrieve it through the phone system. That call was pretty painless, however; I had Apple Pay fully up and running on that card within ten minutes.

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I’m not usually an early adopter in the world of technology, but I made an exception today and downloaded the newest iOS 8.1 update on my iPhone 6 which enabled me to try out Apple Pay. This is (somewhat) relevant to miles and points because you can store different credit cards in your Apple Pay account and use those to pay at select stores to maximize various category bonuses without having to actually have them in your physical wallet.

I can say that I have successfully used Apple Pay to buy lunch. My 64-year-old dad cracked up at me buying lunch with a cell phone.

According to MacWorld, the credit cards that currently work with Apple Pay are issued by:

I thought I remembered seeing it was just Visa-issued Chase cards that work, but I haven’t tried to add a Chase MasterCard yet. The stores that MacWorld listed as being early Apple Pay adopters are:

  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Babies ‘R’ Us
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Champs Sports
  • Chevron and Texaco, including retail stores like ExtraMile
  • The Disney Store
  • Duane Reade
  • Foot Locker, including Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, House of Hoops, and Run by Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • Macy’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • Panera Bread
  • Petco and Unleashed by Petco
  • RadioShack
  • Six:02
  • Sports Authority
  • Subway
  • Toys ‘R’ Us
  • Walgreens
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods Market

Stores that are said to roll-out Apple Pay later this year:

  • Anthropologie
  • Free People
  • Sephora
  • Staples
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Walt Disney World Resort

  • You have to have one of the newer devices like the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
  • Update to iOS 8.1 that was released today
  • Go into the Passbook app and add a credit card (or two). You can use the camera to scan the card number or enter it in manually. The cards with the info printed on the back like the Chase Sapphire Preferred did not work with the camera for me so had to be entered manually.

  • Some cards like my Amex automatically worked while others were only activated after I entered a code that was emailed to me.
  • Hold the phone near the terminal to pay and then verify with your thumb print or four digit code. You can select between the different credit cards you have added pretty easily.
  • It took a few extra seconds to process, but the transaction went through and displays as a recent transaction in my Apple Pay account.

Mock-up of Apple Pay, reality is basically the same

I used Apple Pay successfully at Panera for lunch and hope to try it out at some other stores on the list soon. Apple Pay would get really interesting for me if you could add prepaid cards or if you could use an iTunes balance to pay at other stores. I have read that using prepaid cards is likely to come later for Apple Pay. For now I can’t imagine this is a game changer for those with multiple rewards earning credit cards, but maybe it’s a start.

Have you used Apple Pay with your rewards earning credit cards?