Australian iPhones and Apple Watches can now virtually replace physical American Express credit cards following the launch of Apple Pay in partnership with American Express Australia.
It’s as simple as linking your compatible iPhone or Apple Watch with your American Express-issued card and hovering that phone or watch – rather than your traditional credit card – over the contactless card reader when making payments in-store.
Here’s what you need to know about Apple Pay including who can use it, how to set it up and how to make payments in-store.
Apple Pay: what you’ll need
At launch, Apple Pay can only be used by customers with an American Express card issued directly by American Express Australia, such as the Platinum Charge Card, the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card and the new and fee-free Essential credit card.
American Express cards issued by other banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac can’t be linked to Apple Pay at this stage, nor can any Australian Visa, MasterCard or Diners Club cards.
Paired with an American Express-issued card needs to be a 2014- or 2015-model iPhone including the 6s, 6s Plus, 6 and 6 Plus running iOS 9 or later to make in-store payments, or an Apple Watch paired to the same.
These devices also support Apple Pay payments within compatible apps such as Uber, while the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Mini 4 also support in-app payments, but not in-store contactless payments.
Apple Pay: setting it up
Begin by opening the ‘Wallet’ app on your iPhone (formerly Passbook), the Watch app for Apple Watch users (then My Watch > Wallet & Apple Pay) or navigate to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay on your iPad, and click ‘add credit or debit card’ or tap the + button in the top right corner.
Enter your American Express card details or use the iPhone’s camera to capture them electronically, and in moments you’re all set up:
You can add up to eight credit cards to your Apple Pay account, so if you use different cards for business and leisure or even for specific merchants such as restaurants and supermarkets, you can add them all in and choose when it’s time to pay, with one also nominated as your ‘default’.
Apple Pay: making a payment in-store
When shopping with a merchant that accepts American Express contactless transactions, simply leave your phone locked, place your thumb on the phone’s Touch ID reader and hover it over the contactless terminal to make your payment from your default card.
To pay from a different card instead, double click the home button when the phone is locked and you’ll go straight to the Wallet app, where you can select your card before making your payment.
For Apple Watch users, double click the side button to activate Apple Pay, then either scroll left or right to select your payment card or hold your wrist straight over the merchant’s contactless terminal to pay from your default account.
Apple Pay can be used wherever American Express contactless payments are accepted including at major chains like Woolworths, Coles, Officeworks, Myer, David Jones, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Event Cinemas, but at many smaller retailers too.
However, Apple Pay users may experience difficulties at merchants with older-style contactless EFTPOS terminals such as at BP and Haigh’s Chocolates which accept AMEX but don’t yet support AMEX contactless payments.
Until Apple Pay and AMEX contactless work universally at all merchants that accept the card, we’d recommend keeping your physical American Express credit card with you to use as a backup where needed, and with merchants whose terminals don’t sport a contactless credit card reader.
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About Chris Chamberlin
Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!