Can I buy a car with Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment and digital wallet service that allows users to make payments in stores, apps, and websites using their Apple devices. With Apple Pay, you can pay for things like groceries, transit tickets, and retail purchases simply by holding your iPhone near a contactless reader or confirming payment on your Apple Watch.

Can I buy a car with Apple Pay?

But can you actually use Apple Pay to make large purchases like buying a car? Below we’ll explore if and how Apple Pay can be used when purchasing a new or used vehicle from a dealership or private seller.

How Does Apple Pay Work?

To understand if Apple Pay can be used for buying a car, it helps to first understand what Apple Pay is and how it works.

With Apple Pay, your actual credit or debit card numbers are not shared with merchants. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned to your device and encrypted. This means your card details stay protected.

When you use Apple Pay in stores, your iPhone or Apple Watch must be held near the store’s contactless reader. Your Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, are shared with the retailer to complete the payment.

For in-app and online purchases, you confirm payments with Face ID, Touch ID, or by double clicking the side button and authenticating with your passcode. Apple Pay transactions are secured with end-to-end encryption and authentication via Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode.

Buying a Car with Apple Pay In-Person

Apple Pay is accepted nearly everywhere, from major retail chains to local shops and restaurants. But can you use Apple Pay when purchasing a vehicle at a car dealership?

Unfortunately, the answer is typically no. Most car dealerships do not accept Apple Pay or contactless payments directly for vehicle purchases at this time.

There are a few key reasons why Apple Pay isn’t widely accepted for in-person car buying:

  • High transaction values – A new or used car is often one of the highest value purchases a consumer makes. Typical Apple Pay transactions have much lower values.
  • Logistics of auto financing – The process of securing auto financing and finalizing all paperwork for a vehicle purchase is complex. Apple Pay doesn’t easily integrate into the systems and workflows of most dealerships.
  • Industry standards – The auto sales industry tends to be slow to adopt new payment technologies. Credit cards are commonly accepted, but contactless payments have yet to see widespread adoption.

While not common, there may be some specialized, high-end dealers that have newer point-of-sale systems which enable Apple Pay acceptance. But in general, buyers should not expect to use Apple Pay when purchasing a vehicle directly from a dealership.

Using Apple Pay With Online Auto Retailers

If Apple Pay isn’t accepted for in-person vehicle purchases, what about buying online? Some online auto retailers may allow use of Apple Pay for online reservations or down payments.

For example, Carvana is an online used car retailer that delivers vehicles directly to buyers. On their website, Carvana accepts Apple Pay for initial preorder deposits on vehicles. However, final payment and paperwork must still be completed without Apple Pay.

Other examples like Roadster allow Apple Pay for $500 reservations. But again, final purchase payment cannot be processed this way.

So while Apple Pay may be accepted for initial amounts by some online auto sellers, full vehicle payment still requires traditional financing approval and payment methods.

Using Apple Pay at Dealers for Other Purchases

If you can’t use Apple Pay to directly buy a vehicle from a dealership, could it be used to pay for other products or services?

Some dealers may allow use of Apple Pay in their parts and services departments, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. These purchases for smaller ticket items may accept contactless payments even if the auto sales department does not.

You may also be able to use Apple Pay to place a deposit or pay for add-ons like extended warranties for a vehicle purchase. But similar to online retailers, full payment will need to be handled separately. Contact your dealership ahead of time to understand their specific Apple Pay policies.

Paying Down Payments or Installments With Apple Pay

Since most dealers won’t accept Apple Pay for the full amount of a vehicle purchase, could it be used for a portion of the total like a down payment or monthly installments?

This may be possible, but will depend on the policies of the financing institution and programs used. For example:

  • You may be able to use Apple Pay to pay your down payment if the dealer or lender allow card or contactless payments for down payments.
  • For a vehicle financed through your own bank or credit union, you may be able to use Apple Pay for monthly installment payments if they accept them.
  • Lease or loan providers that integrate with Apple Pay may allow it for payments, but policies vary by lender.

If you’re interested in using Apple Pay for a portion of your overall auto purchase, discuss options ahead of time with the dealership’s finance department and your own bank or lender. Availability and policies will vary.

Buying From a Private Seller With Apple Pay

Purchasing a car from a private seller is another situation where Apple Pay won’t work for the full payment amount. Similar to dealers, private sellers are very unlikely to accept Apple Pay for a vehicle purchase due to the high dollar amounts.

However, Apple Pay might be accepted by a private seller for a portion of the total cost, such as:

  • Putting down a refundable deposit on a car using Apple Pay. Final payment would need to be made separately.
  • Paying installments in smaller amounts over time may be possible if the seller agrees to accept multiple Apple Pay transactions.

As with any private auto sale, ensure paperwork is complete, the title is transferred to you, and required DMV documentation is filed. Don’t rely solely on Apple Pay transactions without properly registering the vehicle ownership transfer.

Title and Registration With Apple Pay Purchases

Keep in mind that even if you pay for a portion or all of your vehicle cost using Apple Pay, standard title transfer and registration with your DMV will still be required.

Apple Pay is simply handling the payment transaction. It does not automatically transfer titles or handle any required paperwork.

Make sure to complete all steps to legally register the vehicle in your name, which may include providing documentation of purchase price and taxes paid to your DMV.

Apple Pay at the DMV?

Wondering if you could use Apple Pay for title transfer, registration, and other fees at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agency?

Unfortunately, Apple Pay and other contactless payments are not widely accepted at DMVs or government agencies currently. Some may allow credit card payments for certain services, but most still require cash, checks, or debit payments.

It’s a good idea to call your local DMV and ask what types of payment they accept before visiting to register a newly purchased auto. Chances are Apple Pay won’t be one of the options.

Why Apple Pay Alone Won’t Work for Buying Cars

At this point, you’re probably realizing there are some key reasons why Apple Pay alone won’t work for completing the full process of buying a car, including:

  • High dollar purchases well beyond the typical Apple Pay transaction value.
  • Logistical challenges accepting Apple Pay into dealer management systems designed for traditional lending.
  • Need to handle complex vehicle title transfers, registration, taxes, etc.
  • Government DMV locations not set up to accept contactless payments.
  • Overall slow adoption by auto dealers and lending institutions to support mobile payments.

While Apple Pay might not be able to handle the entire end-to-end transaction today, gradual adoption may allow more portions of the buying process to be handled via mobile payments in the future. For now, Apple Pay can only complement but not fully replace traditional financing and purchase methods.

Tips for Using Apple Pay at Dealerships

If you’re interested in using Apple Pay when purchasing a vehicle as possible, here are a few tips:

  • Call ahead to the dealership and specifically ask if they accept Apple Pay for any portion of vehicle payments. Don’t assume it will be an option when you arrive.
  • Be prepared with a traditional payment method as backup. Many dealers will not be able to accommodate Apple Pay at all.
  • Ask if you can use Apple Pay for add-ons like extended warranties, protection plans, dealer-provided financing, etc. Some ancillary purchases may be eligible even if the vehicle is not.
  • Processing a refundable reservation deposit through Apple Pay may be possible with some online retailers.
  • Your own bank or lender may allow Apple Pay for monthly installment loan payments even if the dealer does not.
  • Make sure all paperwork and legal title transfers are still completed if Apple Pay is only used for a portion of the overall payment.

While Apple Pay probably won’t revolutionize how cars are purchased just yet, small portions of the buying process may slowly begin accepting mobile wallet payments. Check ahead of time with retailers and lenders to see what options are available.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Pay for Auto Purchases

Here are answers to some common questions consumers have around using Apple Pay when buying a car:

Can I buy a car 100% with Apple Pay?
No, the vast majority of dealers and private sellers will not accept Apple Pay to fully purchase a vehicle due to the complexity and high transaction values.

Can I use Apple Pay for a down payment on an auto loan?
Possibly, depending on the lender and dealership policies. Many will still require traditional down payment methods, but some may allow Apple Pay if you contact them ahead of time.

What if my bank accepts Apple Pay – can I buy a car with it if they finance me?
Probably not – the bank may accept Apple Pay for monthly loan installment payments, but the actual vehicle purchase payment will likely not be eligible.

Can I use Apple Pay for DMV registration fees and taxes when I transfer a new car title?
Unfortunately no – most DMV locations do not have systems in place to accept contactless payments directly for registration fees and taxes.

How do I pay taxes on a car purchase made with Apple Pay?
If you use Apple Pay for any portion of the auto purchase, you’ll still need to pay relevant sales taxes to the seller or DMV through an accepted payment method. Apple Pay does not handle tax collection or reporting.

Can independent, small car dealers accept Apple Pay more easily than major dealers?
Typically no – large dealers with corporate backing are more likely to eventually adopt Apple Pay policies. Smaller independent dealers will face the same challenges to accepting mobile payments.

If I lease a car, can the monthly payments be made via Apple Pay?
If the leasing company has Apple Pay integrated, they may allow monthly installments via Apple Pay. But the initial lease signing would need to use traditional payments. Check with the lease provider.

Where is Apple Pay most likely to be accepted for auto transactions?
Online retailers may accept Apple Pay for portions like deposits, though final payment would need to be made separately. In person, dealership add-ons like extended warranties are more likely to accept Apple Pay than vehicle purchases.

Is there a transaction limit on Apple Pay that prevents if from being used on high-value car purchases?
Major credit cards themselves often have limits in the $5k-$10k range. But in practice, Apple Pay is not widely accepted for auto purchases simply because the systems are not in place to do so, regardless of transaction value limits.

Will I get points, miles, or rewards on a car purchase if I pay any amount through Apple Pay?
It depends – for amounts processed directly via Apple Pay, you should receive corresponding rewards as you normally would for Apple Pay purchases with that card. But rewards may not apply to amounts paid in other ways.

How safe is it to use Apple Pay to buy a car from a private seller?
Apple Pay itself is secure, but private sellers may not properly handle paperwork and title transfers. Make sure all legal documentation and registration is completed as required in addition to any Apple Pay transaction.

Can I trade in my current car to a dealer if I’m buying with Apple Pay as my payment method?
Most dealers will require standard financing and payment methods to handle trade-ins against a new purchase. Apple Pay likely won’t be accepted. Private sellers may be more flexible taking Apple Pay for trade differences.

Key Takeaways

  • Directly buying a vehicle 100% via Apple Pay is highly unlikely to be accepted at dealerships or by private sellers.
  • High purchase values, complex financing, required DMV paperwork, and lack of auto industry adoption are key reasons Apple Pay isn’t widely usable.
  • Certain ancillary purchases like add-ons or portions like deposits may work with Apple Pay at some dealers and online retailers.
  • Monthly installment payments through your own lender may potentially be paid via Apple Pay in some cases.
  • Ensure full legal title transfer and registration is completed even if Apple Pay is used for part of the overall transaction.


While Apple Pay provides a convenient, secure way to make purchases using your mobile Apple device, some major transactions like financing and buying a car are currently out of its scope. Until more progress is made bringing the auto sales industry on board, payments for vehicle purchases will likely continue relying on traditional financing methods.

Apple Pay can, however, complement parts of the overall transaction, especially as more dealers and lenders gradually roll out increased support. As adoption spreads, Apple Pay may one day become a mainstream payment option across more aspects of the auto purchase process.

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