Getting into the store and out quickly is the name of the game with Apple Pay. Not only does it save time and energy, it also helps more securely transmit your credit card information to the retailer’s terminals, using a one-time pin that’s only used for that transaction. Sometimes, however, Apple Pay doesn’t quite work as expected. Let’s take a look at some troubleshooting tips. (Note: This article about troubleshooting Apple Pay is also available as a free PDF download.)

When Apple Pay doesn’t work

There are times when you bring your iPhone or Apple Watch close to the reader, but nothing happens: no cards appear on the screen, no blinking lights on the reader, nothing.

A few things can cause this, but before you go reaching for your wallet to pay the old-fashioned way, here are a few tips that can make Apple Pay spring to life again:

  • Try opening the Passbook app, selecting a card, then bringing your device near the NFC reader. If it asks for your fingerprint, scan it, and you should be done.
  • Try a different reader if the store has one. Sometimes, there are issues that prevent the reader from properly interfacing with your iPhone, and trying another reader might be the only option to get a successful scan.
  • Reboot your device. Very rare issues can be fixed by restarting your device and trying to use Apple Pay again.
  • Remove and add your card again. The card may not have been authorized properly, or other issues with the bank authorization mean that you can’t use Apple Pay yet. You can try removing and re-adding your cards inside of Passbook to fix these extremely rare issues.

Swapping cards

When your bank issues you another card, many card issuers have the ability to update the card that’s used inside of Passbook to match the new look of the issued card, without any changes on your part. However, you may occasionally need to delete the old card and manually add the new card.

If you’re experiencing issues using the old card at checkout, these are the steps you’ll need to perform in order to do this swap:

  1. Delete the old card by navigating to Settings | Passbook & Apple Pay | [Card to Delete], and tapping on Remove Card
  2. Navigate to Settings | Passbook & Apple Pay | Add Credit or Debit Card
  3. Add your new card per normal, following the on-screen instructions

After this process has been completed, you’ll see the old card has now been removed from Passbook and is no longer available to pay for purchases. The newly added card will be awaiting activation from the card issuer. Once this process has been completed, you’ll be able to use this new card to make purchases once again.

New card authorization not being approved

Whenever you add a new card to Passbook for use in Apple Pay, there’s a handshaking process that occurs with the bank or other card issuer to ensure the validity of the newly added card. This process validates the information you provide when setting up Apple Pay and the card numbers to cut down on theft.

Whenever a card is in this authorization state, the card won’t be ready to use to pay for things. Activation can take anywhere from 1 minute to a few hours or longer. Occasionally, adding a card to Apple Pay can set off a red flag with your bank or card issuer, requiring you to call them to complete the card activation process.

If your card has been “Activating” for more than 15 hours, you can call your bank or card issuer (using the number on the back of the scanned card) to speed up this process.

What other tips and tricks have you discovered when using Apple Pay? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.