What You Need To Know To Get Started With Apple Pay

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Apple Pay is now available for anyone to use, provided they’ve got all the prerequisites, both for physical stores and for online transactions. But you can’t just walk up to your local brick-and-mortar store and wave your iPhone and walk out with whatever you want – that would be theft. Instead, you’ll need the following to be in place to have a happy Apple Pay experience.

  1. Hardware: iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for retail; iPad Air 2 or mini 3, or iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for in-app transactions
  2. Software: iOS 8.1 (which just because available earlier today)
  3. Touch ID set up on your device with at least one stored fingerprint
  4. A credit or debit card from one of Apple’s launch payment partners
  5. An iCloud account

After you’ve got all that in place, you can opt to either use the cards you’ve already got on file in iTunes to pay, or add a new one. Adding a new one is as easy as snapping a pic of your plastic, and then manually entering the security code around back. You can also manually enter all the information, if you’d rather not use the camera. If the card is compatible, it will verify and make it available for purchases. If it isn’t, call your bank and ask them to get with the program.

If you’re using a card already on file, you’ll just need to enter the security code found on the back to authorize its use, and then agree to the Apple Pay terms of service. Once that’s complete, you’re ready to roll.

Apple Pay in stores should be available at participating launch retailers, which include Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market.

Online, apps are already rolling out that also support Apple Pay, so check your updates column, or stay tuned to the “Featured” page, where Apple will be surfacing many of them. You can authenticate the purchases using your fingerprint, so long as you’ve registered it with Touch ID, or using your passcode if that doesn’t work for some reason. Apple Pay is secure thanks to the system it uses to store and transmit payment information, which doesn’t actually share any credit card details over NFC with the merchant, and it works with your existing cards, including rewards programs, etc.

We’ll have a first-hand account of how Apple Pay works in the real world shortly, but early reports from Twitter seem to indicate things are working smoothly with the newly launched tech.