Apple Pay is the new Near Field Communication (NFC)-based payment system that Apple announced at its September 2014 event, and it was released on Monday, October 20, 2014 in the US through a select few banks and credit card companies. Apple Pay takes the more secure payment route by using a process called Tokenization that eliminates merchants from seeing your credit card details, name, and more. By now, you’ve probably already set up and used Apple Pay, so we’d like to show you some tips and tricks that can make your usage of Apple Pay even better.

Finding a location that accepts Apple Pay

Apple Pay may have launched to a good start, but that doesn’t mean that it’s instantly available to use everywhere. There are roughly 220,000 retail locations around the US that are currently and officially accepting Apple Pay at their stores. The full list of launch partners (at the time of this writing) are as follows:

  • Aéropostale
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Apple Stores
  • Babies R’ Us
  • BJ’s Wholesale
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Champs Sports
  • Chevron
  • Disney Stores
  • DuaneReade
  • ExtraMile
  • Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • House of Hoops (by Foot Locker)
  • Kids Foot Locker
  • Lady Foot Locker
  • Macy’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Meijer
  • Nike Stores
  • Office Depot
  • Panera Bread
  • PetCo
  • Radioshack
  • Run (by Foot Locker)
  • Six:02
  • Sports Authority
  • Subway
  • Texaco
  • Toys R’ Us
  • Unleashed
  • Walgreens
  • Wegman’s
  • Whole Foods Market

Later this year, the following partners will be added to the Apple Pay ecosystem:

  • Anthropologie
  • FREE People
  • Sephora
  • Staples
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Walt Disney World

Of course, you can still use your Apple Pay-enabled iPhone 6 at other retailers that are not listed. There are plenty of NFC terminals located around the country and around the world. Any NFC-enabled credit card reader should work without issue with Apple Pay.

There were a few retailers who offered up NFC-enabled terminals initially but disabled them on purpose, due to contracts signed with a competitor service called CurrentC that’s supposed to launch next year. Some of the biggest companies that have opted out of Apple Pay (and all NFC payments for that matter) are CVS, RiteAid, BestBuy, and Walmart. In fact, some of these stores have recently been in the news for purposely disabling Apple Pay late last week to keep users from using Apple Pay at NFC-enabled terminals. You should stick with the Apple launch partners for full support, but you can still find retailers that have NFC terminals that work with the service.

There are existing companies that offer payments through NFC, and you can use their web sites to find compatible retailers. Here are a couple good sites that offer searchable maps to see which retail, gas, grocery stores, and other merchants offer up NFC-based payments around your location:

Using Apple Pay outside of the US

While it’s not fully supported outside of the US, assuming that you have a US-based credit or debit card account and you set your location in iOS to “United States,” you can properly add and use Apple Pay in another country. Canada, the UK, and Japan are just a few countries that have NFC-capable terminals in vending machines, restaurants, and other retail locations.

To set your location to the United States:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to General | Language and Region
  3. Select the Region setting
  4. Select United States as the region

After doing this, the Passbook & Apple Pay section will appear inside of the Settings application (Figure A). You can navigate here to add your US-based bank account cards. Your mileage may vary, but if you’ve got an itch to try Apple Pay, then you can.

Figure A

Setting your region to the United States will let you use Apple Pay outside of the country.

Using Apple Pay in mobile applications

In addition to using Apple Pay inside of physical retail locations, you can also use it to more securely pay for items online. If the merchant you’re ordering from has an application in the App Store with Apple Pay enabled, then you can use a single touch of the Touch ID sensor to pay, without having to type in your credit card information, your name, or any of your contact information, which saves you time and privacy.

In order to use Apple Pay inside of applications, you’ll first need to set your name and contact information inside of the Apple Pay settings. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Passbook & Apple Pay (Figure B)
  3. Tap the Bill Address default section, then select your billing address
  4. Tap the Shipping Address default section, then select your shipping address
  5. Tap the Email address default section, then select your primary email account used for online transactions
  6. Finally, tap the Phone number default section, then select your primary telephone number used for online transactions

Figure B

Configure your contact information before you make a purchase with Apple Pay in mobile apps for easier checkout.

Once all of these transaction default values have been set, you can easily and efficiently check out with Apple Pay in the following launch partner applications (with more coming soon):

  • Apple Store app
  • Chairish
  • Fancy
  • Groupon
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Houzz
  • Instacart
  • Lyft
  • OpenTable
  • Panera Bread
  • Spring
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Uber

Later this year, the following apps will launch with Apple Pay support:

  • Airbnb
  • Disney Store
  • Eventbrite
  • Jackthreads
  • Levis Stadium
  • Sephora
  • Starbucks

Keeping track of your recent purchases

When you make a purchase with a supported credit card, your last few transactions will be store on your local device so that you can easily look them up (if your merchant didn’t give you a receipt, for instance). To locate your last transactions, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Settings | Passbook & Apple Pay
  2. Tap on your credit card from the Cards list

Your most recent transactions will be shown under the Transactions section. Note that the transactions will only appear on the device used to make the purchase and will not be stored by Apple through any other means — it’s visible on your local device only.

Have you tried out Apple Pay over the past week? What are your thoughts? Do you have any additional tips and tricks for working with Apple Pay? Share your knowledge in the discussion thread below.