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Explainer: How does Apple Pay work? How much does it cost? And what happens if I lose my phone?


It works almost anywhere that ordinary contactless credit and debit cards work. So now Apple Pay is available in Ireland - here's all you need to know about it.

What is Apple Pay?

It’s a contactless payment system using your iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad. It can also be used within apps or online in the Safari browser.


How does it work?

It works using contactless Mastercards or Visa cards issued by Ulster Bank or KBC Bank. You save the card’s details in your iPhone’s ‘Wallet’ and the iPhone or Apple Watch is then able to make payments on behalf of the card in physical shops and retailers. It works almost anywhere that ordinary contactless credit and debit cards work. Adding a card to an iPhone or an iPad is done through the Wallet app on the device. For an Apple Watch, it’s done through the Watch app on an iPhone.


Do I just swipe it at the contactless terminal?

You have to use your iPhone’s fingerprint sensor (Touch ID) each time you pay for something.


What kind of iPhone do I need?

And you’ll need one of the newer iPhones (an iPhone 6, iPhone 7 or iPhone SE). It can also be used with newer iPad models, MacBooks after 2012 and all Apple Watches.


What happens if I lose my iPhone?

Because it needs a fingerprint to pay, it’s pretty secure. In any case, you can suspend or wipe the card from your phone by using iCloud.com/find. Or you can ring your bank and cancel the card in the normal way


Who accepts it? Where can I use it?

Launch partners using the system include supermarkets such as Supervalu, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi, Centra and Marks and Spencers. Other retails chains such as Insomnia, Boots and Harvey Norman also accept the payment system as do petrol stations such as Applegreen and Amber Oil.


What are the spending limits?

Apple does not place any purchasing limits on the system, although banks and some retailers place their own limits


Does it cost money to use over and above a contactless card?

There is no additional charge to using the phone as a payment method.


Is it really safe?

Apple says that Apple Pay is safer than using a traditional credit or debit card because each transaction is protected with either Touch ID or a passcode. It also says that card numbers and identities aren’t shared with the retailer or merchant and that the card numbers aren’t stored on your device or on Apple servers.


Why aren’t AIB or Bank Of Ireland participating?

We don’t know. But a spokeswoman for AIB said that the bank is currently “in discussion with a number of payment service providers, including Apple” but that the bank is “not in a position to confirm timing of such payment development at this time”. A spokeswoman for Bank Of Ireland did not say the bank is in discussions or that Apple Pay is on its radar.


What’s Boon?

Boon is a prepay system that works by downloading an app and topping up via a prepaid digital Mastercard. It works in any shop whose terminals accept Mastercard contactless logo. Payment transactions with Boon need to be authorised with a Pin number.


What if I need to return something I bought using Apple Pay?

Apple also says that products bought using Apple Pay on an iPhone or Watch can be returned, with the balance recredited using the gadgets themselves at the retailer’s payment terminal.

Online Editors