What are the downsides of using Apple Pay?

Apple Pay has revolutionized mobile payments but it does have some downsides like transaction limits, security risks, accessibility issues, and reliance on Apple devices that users should be aware of.

What are the downsides of using Apple Pay?

What are the downsides of using Apple Pay?

Apple Pay has become an incredibly popular mobile payment system since its launch in 2014. It allows users to make secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the web using an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac. Apple Pay is accepted in many major retail stores and apps and offers an easy and convenient way to pay from Apple devices.

However, while Apple Pay has many benefits, there are some downsides users should be aware of:

Transaction Limits

One downside of Apple Pay is that there are limits on the amount that can be sent or received using the service. The maximum amount per transaction is $10,000. Although this cap is unlikely to affect everyday purchases, it may be inconvenient for larger transactions or transfers. Users will need to use an alternate payment method if the amount exceeds the limit.

Security Risks

Although Apple Pay utilizes advanced security features like tokenization and biometric authentication, no digital payment system is completely immune to security breaches and fraud. There is always a small risk of payment information being intercepted or accounts being compromised. Users have to trust Apple’s security measures and promptly report any unauthorized charges.

Reliance on Apple Devices

Apple Pay is only available on Apple devices – iPhones, Apple Watches, and Macs. It has limited cross-platform functionality. This reliance on proprietary Apple hardware locks users into the Apple ecosystem. Those who prefer other devices or platforms cannot utilize Apple Pay which limits its overall adoption.

Accessibility Issues

To use Apple Pay, you need an iPhone or Apple Watch which can be costly devices. It is not accessible to users who only have basic cell phones or lack smartphones entirely. Apple Pay also requires biometric authentication using Face ID or Touch ID, which not all users are able to utilize. This can be a disadvantage for budget-conscious consumers or users with certain disabilities.

Merchant Acceptance

While Apple Pay is accepted at many major retailers, it is not universally accepted at all merchants and restaurants. Users cannot always rely exclusively on Apple Pay for purchases. Acceptance is improving steadily but merchant holdouts remain in certain industries and locations. Using Apple Pay still requires carrying a physical credit/debit card as a backup in some cases.

peer to peer Payments Require Apple Devices

Apple Pay can be used to send and receive money between friends and contacts. However, both parties in the transaction must have Apple devices configured with Apple Pay. There is no option to send funds to non-Apple users which limits the service’s usefulness for peer-to-peer transfers.

Credit Card Rewards May Be Impacted

Some credit card issuers do not count Apple Pay transactions toward rewards programs or cash back offers. Purchases made via Apple Pay may not help you earn points, airline miles, or account credits offered by the card. Users should check with their card issuer to understand any impact on rewards.

Difficulties Adding Non-Apple Cards

Adding credit/debit cards issued by banks outside of the US can be challenging with Apple Pay. There are often technical issues or incompatibility with banks in other countries. This makes adoption harder outside Apple Pay’s core US market. International travelers often find their home country cards don’t work.

Cannot Use Discounts or Coupons

Apple Pay does not allow users to apply discounts, coupons or promotional codes during transactions. Any coupons or offers must be redeemed separately from the Apple Pay payment. This makes it less convenient to utilize promotions or save money when shopping.

No Option for Tap to Pay

Apple Pay only supports payments, not peer-to-peer transactions via Tap to Pay. Small business owners and entrepreneurs cannot accept contactless payments directly from consumers using an iPhone. Instead, a credit card terminal or reader is required which adds costs.

So in summary, while Apple Pay delivers convenience and security for payments, users should be aware it has limitations for large transfers, peer-to-peer transactions, accessibility, merchant acceptance, credit card rewards, adding foreign cards, coupons, and small business tap-to-pay. Understanding these downsides allows consumers to make informed decisions about using Apple Pay versus alternatives like credit cards or other digital wallets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Apple Pay has transaction limits, usually $10,000 maximum per payment which affects large purchases.
  • There are minor security risks due to potential fraud or account breaches.
  • It relies on Apple devices only, limiting cross-platform functionality.
  • Budget users or those with certain disabilities may struggle with accessibility.
  • Merchant acceptance, while improving, is still inconsistent at some retailers.
  • Peer to peer payments only work between Apple users, limiting usefulness.
  • Credit card rewards may not apply to Apple Pay purchases with some issuers.
  • Non-US or foreign bank cards can be difficult to add.
  • Discounts and coupons cannot be used with Apple Pay.
  • No option for small businesses to accept Tap to Pay transactions from consumers.


In conclusion, Apple Pay is a huge advance in mobile payments thanks to its ease of use, security, and growing adoption among major retailers. However, it is not without limitations. Users should be aware of the potential downsides like transaction limits, security risks, limited accessibility, and impacts on credit card rewards. Apple Pay may not be accepted everywhere or suitable for large P2P transfers. Understanding both the pros and cons allows consumers to choose the best payment method for each situation and use Apple Pay selectively based on its advantages and disadvantages. Despite a few drawbacks, Apple Pay remains a major innovation that has transformed mobile payments for Apple users.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the transaction limits with Apple Pay?
    • Apple Pay has a transaction limit of $10,000 maximum per payment. Purchases over this amount cannot be processed via Apple Pay.
  2. Is Apple Pay completely safe to use?
    • Apple Pay utilizes advanced security like tokenization and biometrics. However, no digital payment is 100% immune to security risks like fraud or account breaches. Users should monitor accounts and report unauthorized charges promptly.
  3. Can Android users utilize Apple Pay?
    • No, Apple Pay only works on Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches. It has limited cross-platform functionality for Android users.
  4. Is Apple Pay accessible to users on a budget?
    • Apple Pay requires fairly recent model iPhones or Apple Watches which can be expensive. It has limited accessibility for budget-conscious consumers unable to afford these devices.
  5. Where is Apple Pay accepted?
    • Apple Pay is accepted at many major retailers, but not universally. Some smaller shops, restaurants or service providers may not accept it. Users cannot always rely on it exclusively.
  6. Can you use Apple Pay for person-to-person payments?
    • Yes, but it only works between Apple device users. There is no option to send funds to non-Apple users via Apple Pay.
  7. Do I still earn credit card rewards when using Apple Pay?
    • In some cases no. Certain card issuers do not count Apple Pay purchases toward rewards programs or cash back. Check with your provider.
  8. Is Apple Pay widely used outside the United States?
    • Adoption of Apple Pay is slower overseas. Adding cards issued in foreign countries can be challenging due to technical issues.
  9. Can discounts or coupons be applied to Apple Pay purchases?
    • Unfortunately no. Apple Pay does not accommodate applying discounts, coupons or promo codes during transactions.
  10. Does Apple Pay allow small businesses to accept contactless payments?
    • No, Apple Pay only facilitates payments, not peer-to-peer transactions via Tap to Pay. Small sellers need a credit card terminal.
  11. Is there a fee or cost associated with using Apple Pay?
    • Apple Pay is free to use for consumers. However, merchants pay processing fees on each transaction, similar to credit card payments.
  12. Is Apple Pay easier to use than carrying physical cards?
    • Yes, Apple Pay is very convenient and quick for payments in stores, apps, and online. It eliminates having to carry and locate physical cards.
  13. Is Apple Pay the only option for contactless iPhone payments?
    • Yes, Apple Pay is the only official contactless payment system for iPhones. However, other mobile wallets like Google Pay work via apps.
  14. What technology makes Apple Pay secure?
    • Apple Pay utilizes tokenization and biometrics like Face ID or Touch ID to securely authorize payments without sending real card details.
  15. Can I use Apple Pay abroad for international payments?
    • Apple Pay can be used abroad if the local stores accept contactless payments and your cards have international functionality enabled.
  16. Does Apple Pay work with debit cards?
    • Yes, Apple Pay works seamlessly with debit cards as long as they have a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover logo.
  17. Can unauthorized Apple Pay charges be disputed?
    • Yes, users should report any unauthorized Apple Pay charges and transactions to their bank or card issuer to dispute.
  18. Does Apple Pay require an internet connection to make payments?
    • No, an internet connection is not required as long as both the merchant and user devices support contactless NFC connections.
  19. Is Apple Pay going to replace physical credit cards?
    • Perhaps in the long run, but for now most experts believe physical cards will co-exist with mobile wallets like Apple Pay.
  20. Are Apple Pay transactions more secure than physical card payments?
    • Yes, Apple Pay offers additional security benefits like tokenization, biometrics, and dynamic security codes making it more secure than physical card transactions alone.

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