Apple Pay isn't working? Try these troubleshooting tips

Apple Pay works fantastically well—except when it doesn't. When you encounter issues with Apple Pay, follow this troubleshooting guide.

applepaytroubleshooting-hero.jpg

Image: Apple, Inc.

In the nearly five years since Apple Pay was launched, I have rarely experienced issues with the service. But on rare occasions, issues can crop up when adding or using cards, or when returning merchandise that you've bought with Apple Pay.

When Apple Pay doesn't quite work the way you'd expect, read this troubleshooting guide, which covers all of the main issues that you might experience and how to correct them.

SEE: Apple Card: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What to do if your credit or debit card cannot be added to Apple Pay

When adding a credit card or debit card to Apple Pay, some cards and issuers are not yet supported by Apple Pay. If you encounter an issue adding a card to Apple Pay, you should check to ensure that the card from the bank or card issuer you're trying to add supports Apple Pay.

If the card's issuer does support Apple Pay and the card still does not work, you should restart the device and try again, ensuring that the device is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular. If it still does not work, contact the card's issuer.

What to do when your Apple Pay cards don't appear on the reader

Sometimes your card may say "Card Not Available" on Apple Watch or your iPhone. When tapping your device to the credit card reader, it may not even appear. This can occasionally happen and seems to be a bug in iOS 12 for some devices (it was a larger issue in iOS 11). When this happens, don't fret—simply reboot your device, and it should start working again. Rebooting seems to be the only solution when your Apple Pay cards don't appear when tapping your device to the reader.

How to return an item bought with Apple Pay

Purchases bought with Apple Pay can easily be returned back to the card; however, you need to make sure you scan the correct digital card. Purchases made with Apple Pay should be returned back to the original digital card, as the physical credit card or debit card cannot be used for returns. The receipt should list the last four digits of the device's account number. Find the corresponding card's device account number by following these steps on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Wallet & Apple Pay.
  3. Tap the card.

Follow these steps on your Apple Watch:

  1. Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the My Watch tab. 
  3. Select Wallet & Apple Pay, then the card.

When following either of these step-by-step instructions, the Device Account Number will be listed on the card's information screen. Simply tap the correct card on the reader to do a return. 

What to do if your Apple Pay device is lost or stolen

It happens to the best of us: We leave our iPhone or Apple Watch behind, and when we go back to find it, it's missing. Fortunately, Apple makes it easy to mark a device lost or stolen and subsequently invalidate the Apple Pay cards associated with that device.

To do this, open iCloud.com in your web browser and do the following:

  1. Select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to My Devices and click the device that has been lost or stolen. 
  3. Select the Remove All button below the Apple Pay section for the selected device (Figure A).

Figure A

applepaytroubleshooting-figure-a-e5fd9bcebac24f749acdd514e7c7618b.jpg

Removing all Apple Pay cards on a particular device is easy in the iCloud.com portal.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

What to do if an Apple Cash payment cannot be redeemed

Apple Cash is the person-to-person (p2p) payments solution provided by Apple and is used through iMessage to send money between two parties. It's rare, but sometimes money sent to you cannot be redeemed in Apple Cash.

If an Apple Cash payment cannot be redeemed, try each of these steps first, and then try redeeming the payment again.

  1. Restart your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
  2. Ensure that you've met the Apple Cash requirements listed below:
    - You're on the latest iOS or watchOS update
    - Your device is compatible with Apple Pay
    - Your device is connected to Wi-Fi or Cellular
    - You're signed into the same iCloud account for which you've received the iMessage Apple Cash payment 
  3. If you're asked to choose a lower amount or try again later, you've likely hit a balance limit with Apple Cash. Check the Apple Cash limits and try again. 

Sending money directly from a debit card? An error message likely means that the payment was declined by the bank or debit card issuer. Call the card issuer and ask it to approve the transaction.

How to cancel an Apple Cash payment

You sent a payment through Apple Cash and iMessage to the wrong person.  That's certainly not good, but there's a solution to this as well.

If the Apple Cash payment hasn't been accepted, you can cancel the payment by following these steps:

  1. Open the Messages app and go to the payment that was sent. 
  2. Tap the payment to see the details of the payment and check the status field. 
  3. Tap the Cancel Payment button.

If you don't see this cancel button, the payment has already been accepted by the recipient. If you do see the button and tap it, the status should change to cancelled, and the funds will be returned to you. Any unaccepted payments will automatically be returned to you after seven days.

If the money has already been accepted by the wrong recipient, you can ask them to send the money back. Apple doesn't offer any help for wrong-person payments; however, you can open a dispute by contacting Apple Cash support.

More Apple Pay and Apple Cash troubleshooting tips

If you have more questions or need additional troubleshooting advice for Apple Pay or Apple Cash, check out Apple Support's Apple Pay and Apple Cash pages. You can reach out to Apple Support regardless of your device's warranty status.

Also see