What is the difference between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet?

Apple Pay and Apple Wallet are mobile payment and digital wallet services from Apple that allow you to store your credit, debit, rewards, and gift cards digitally on your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. Both services provide convenient contactless payment options, but they work differently.

What is the difference between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet?

How Apple Pay Works

Apple Pay is Apple’s contactless mobile payment technology that allows you to make secure purchases in stores, within apps, and online. Here’s how it works:

  • Compatible Devices – You can set up and use Apple Pay on any iPhone 6 or newer model, along with the 1st generation iPhone SE or newer models. It also works with any Apple Watch model.
  • Payment Cards – Add eligible credit, debit, and prepaid cards to the Wallet app on your iPhone. Apple Pay will use this card information to process payments.
  • Contactless Transactions – Make payments by holding your compatible iPhone or Apple Watch close to the contactless payment scanner at checkout. No need to open apps or hand over your device.
  • Biometric Authentication – Payments are authorized using Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode, adding extra security. Your card details are never shared with merchants.
  • In-App & Online – Apple Pay can also be used to make payments within apps or on compatible websites, using Touch ID or Face ID to authorize transactions from your iPhone or iPad. No credit card details get shared with sellers.

What Does Apple Wallet Do?

The Apple Wallet app allows you to store various cards digitally, including the credit, debit, and prepaid cards you can use for Apple Pay. It also enables services like:

  • Boarding passes
  • Tickets
  • Event passes
  • Student IDs
  • Driver’s licenses (in some regions)
  • Loyalty/rewards cards from retailers
  • Keys for homes, hotels, cars

When you add cards to the Wallet app, you can access and redeem them any time without needing to carry a physical wallet or cards. You simply hold your iPhone or Apple Watch close to a contactless reader to make Apple Pay transactions using stored cards.

Wallet also receives notifications and updates related to the passes it holds. For instance, you can see updated boarding gate info, new ticket barcodes as needed, or points balance updates for loyalty program cards.

Key Differences

Apple Pay facilitates the contactless payment transaction itself using a stored card in Wallet. Think of it as the payment processing system.

Apple Wallet is your digital wallet that securely stores the cards which Apple Pay taps into to make transactions. It can store other passes beyond payment cards too.

In short:

  • Apple Pay – Contactless mobile payment solution
  • Apple Wallet – Digital wallet for storing cards/passes used in Apple Pay

Setting Up Apple Pay and Adding Cards to Wallet

Apple Pay is easy to set up. Here are step-by-step instructions:

On your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay
  2. Tap ‘Add Card’
  3. Use your iSight camera to scan your physical card or enter details manually
  4. Verify your identity via SMS validation code or by logging into your bank account
  5. Agree to the Terms & Conditions
  6. Set up Apple Pay using Face ID, Touch ID or a passcode

You can repeat steps 2-5 to keep adding eligible credit, debit, prepaid, rewards and gift cards to Wallet for Apple Pay transactions.

Alternative: You can also set up Apple Pay directly from the Wallet app by tapping the ‘+’ icon.

On Apple Watch:

You can use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to add cards from your phone’s Wallet to your Apple Watch. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth must be turned on.

To add cards manually instead of mirroring your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app on your watch, go to Passbook & Apple Pay, then follow prompts to enter card information.

Types of Cards That Work with Apple Pay

Here are the card types you can add to Apple Wallet for contactless Apple Pay transactions:

✅ Credit cards – Discover, American Express, Mastercard, Visa supported. Issues proprietary cards typically don’t work.

✅ Debit cards – Must be contactless-enabled from Supported banks.

✅ Prepaid cards – Select Visa, Mastercard or American Express branded prepaid cards work.

✅ Reward cards – Many major loyalty/rewards cards. See full list.

✅ Campus cards – University student ID cards at certain schools.

✅ Transit cards – For subways, buses and other transport in supported cities.

You cannot store other items like cash, checks or generic gift cards to use directly via Apple Pay payments.

Apple Pay Vs Apple Wallet Security

Apple Pay transactions utilize tokenization and Face/Touch ID for secure payments without exposing card details. Payment details are encrypted and tokens(temporary codes) represent account numbers.

Apple Wallet card storage leverages device encryption with authentication requirements to access. All details are encrypted on a hardware chip.

Apple Pay security features include:

  • Face ID / Touch ID / Passcodes to authorize payments
  • One-time unique dynamic security codes
  • Tokenization hides real card numbers from merchants
  • Real card numbers are never stored on devices or shared with sellers.
  • All traffic between Apple devices and payment networks is encrypted

So you can rest assured Apple doesn’t store your actual card data, and sensitive payment info is never shared with retailers. Transactions are very secure with dynamic encryption and authentication tokens.

What Does Apple Pay Use From Wallet?

When you initiate an Apple Pay transaction whether in store or in apps, here is what happens behind the scenes:

  1. Wallet provides card details stored on your device so Apple Pay can generate a one-time dynamic security token. This token transaction account number represents your device, instead of sending real card numbers.
  2. Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode is used to authorize each transaction as you hold your device near a payment scanner.
  3. The dynamic token, encryption keys and authorization message is sent from your device to merchant payment systems via NFC.
  4. Merchant payment provider receives authorization from your card issuer after verifying the token details over a secure encrypted network.
  5. If approved, the transaction completes using your stored card info. But your actual payment credentials are never exposed during transactions thanks to one-time tokens and robust encryption with every Apple Pay transaction.

So in essence, Apple Wallet provides and holds payment cards securely, while Apple Pay uses tokenization and authentication to enable contactless magic!

Common Uses of Apple Pay & Wallet

Thanks to Apple Pay and Apple Wallet capabilities on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, you can leave your physical wallet behind and pay digitally using just your device.

Contactless Apple Pay is accepted virtually everywhere today with compatible point-of-sale systems – from vending machines to grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and more. Wallet makes those transactions possible by storing cards.

You can also use Apple Pay conveniently in iOS apps, Apple Watch apps or via Apple services. For example, paying for Uber rides, food delivery orders, movie tickets, shopping online and more all work with Wallet cards.

Stored debit/credit cards, prepaid cards, reward cards and transit cards are commonly saved in Wallet for frictionless Apple Pay transactions. Beyond payments, Apple Wallet is also great for securely storing admission tickets, airline boarding passes, gift cards and loyalty program membership cards as well. Tapping to redeem is often faster than fumbling for physical items.

Pros and Cons of Apple Pay and Wallet

Apple Pay Benefits:

☑ Fast checkout with contactless transactions

☑ More secure payments with dynamic encryption

☑ No risk of credit card number theft/fraud

☑ Convenient within apps or websites too

☑ Access multiple payment methods in one place

Potential Drawbacks:

☒ Not universally accepted at all merchants

☒ Need iPhone/Watch to pay (but cards work too)

☒ Setting up Apple Pay can be tricky at times

Apple Wallet Advantages

☑ Single place to access passes and cards digitally

☑ Easy tap-to-redeem rewards, tickets, passes

☑ Get updates and notifications

☑ Scan and store documents securely too

Downsides of Apple Wallet:

☒ Battery life limitations to view passes

☒ Need internet connection for updates

☒ Can only store items compatible with Wallet app ecosystem

Payment Card Support in Wallet by Country

Apple Pay and Apple Wallet features may differ internationally depending on financial institution partnerships. Here is the card/bank support coverage to check per country:

Country Banks & Payment Cards Supported
United States Large banks plus thousands of small credit unions support Apple Pay payments via Wallet cards.
Canada Major banks and credit card brands supported similar to United States..
United Kingdom Major consumer banks support Apple Pay through Wallet debit and credit cards..
Australia Leading Australian banks have Apple Pay compatibility for Wallet card payments.
Asia Pacific Credit cards largely supported. Bank compatibility growing in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Other European Countries Apple Pay support varies. Widespread in Ireland, Switzerland, Spain and others. Less support in Eastern Europe still.
Middle East Growing Apple Pay support in United Arab Emirates while limited elsewhere currently.
Latin America Support exists in Brazil, Mexico but still limited in other countries.

Refer to Apple’s website for a full by-country breakdown since Apple Pay merchant adoption continues to expand globally.

Troubleshooting Apple Pay Issues

Don’t worry, many common Apple Pay and Wallet problems have easy solutions!

Devices not connecting? – Ensure Bluetooth is enabled and watchOS is up to date on your Apple Watch. Restart both devices. Re-pair watch if needed.

Lost/stolen Apple device? Use Find My app tracking to remotely lock, play sound or erase device. Tap Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Find My > Find My iPhone. Change iCloud password too.

Cards “pending” long when adding? Fetch latest card status by logging into associated bank account then try adding it to Wallet again via Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay.

Apple Pay declined payment? Ensure you have sufficient funds on that card. Double check billing info matches between card and device region settings. Contact bank to verify they participate.

How to remove a lost/stolen card from Wallet remotely? Log into your bank account and temporarily suspend or close misplaced card. Or use Find My app to erase entire device wallet contents along with locking device.

Key Takeaways Between Apple Pay and Wallet

  • Apple Pay enables contactless secure transactions using tokens and authentication with stored Wallet cards.
  • Apple Wallet provides digital storage for credit/debit cards, loyalty cards, passes which Apple Pay taps into.
  • Wallet cards are validated with bank and stored encrypted on device without exposing details.
  • Unique one-time, tokenized card numbers represent your device for transactions instead of real card numbers being shared.
  • Face ID, Touch ID or passcodes add authentication security layers authorizing every transaction.

So in summary – Wallet enables storing payment cards, while Apple Pay leverages that stored info to create tokenized, highly secure contactless magic!


While Apple Pay performs the quick contactless transactions using dynamic security tokens, Apple Wallet provides the underlying stored payment cards, tickets, passes and more needed to make those tokenized payments possible.

Together they provide a seamless experience letting iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch act as your wallet. Support continues increasing for banks, merchants and card issuers worldwide.

As Apple Pay reliance grows, understanding the difference between Wallet safely storing cards versus tokens used by Apple Pay during checkout is key. With global enhancement and expanding merchant support, rely on Apple wallet and payments conveniently without carrying a physical wallet anymore thanks to built-in iOS capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Pay and Apple Wallet

Is Apple Wallet the same as Apple Pay?

No, Apple Pay facilitates contactless transactions while Wallet provides the credit/debit cards and passes needed to enable Apple Pay.

Will Apple Pay work if my phone dies?

No, Apple Pay requires power on iPhone or Apple Watch for contactless transactions involving Wallet card authentication.

Is Apple Pay free to use?

Yes, there are no extra charges or fees to pay merchants via Apple Pay using stored credit or debit cards in Wallet.

Can Samsung Pay use Apple Wallet?

No, Samsung Pay is the contactless transaction system for Samsung phones. Only iPhones paired to Watches use Apple Wallet and Pay.

Does Apple Pay store credit card information?

Not directly. Device-specific secure tokens represent stored Wallet card numbers so real details stay protected during transactions.

How secure is Apple Pay versus physical wallet?

Extremely secure thanks to dynamic encryption tokens that uniquely represent your device rather than transmitting actual card numbers merchants could potentially mishandle or expose. Biometric identity verification adds another layer validating transactions while physical wallet contents can be lost or stolen easily.

Can I use a digital card in Apple Wallet without Apple Pay?

Yes, you can store credit cards, gift cards, ID cards, tickets and more in Apple Wallet without necessarily using contactless Apple Pay transactions if merchants don’t support that. Wallet serves as your digital card storage locker on iPhone accessible any time with authentication.

Does closing lost iPhone Wallet cards cancel them?

No, you’ll need to contact your bank or card issuer directly to suspend, freeze or close misplaced credit/debit card accounts stored in iPhone Wallet too.

Can teenagers use Apple Pay?

Yes, as long as they have an eligible funding bank account or digital prepaid card loaded into Apple Wallet saved to their iPhone. Parental purchase controls may still block certain transactions however.

Where do I request replacement for lost iPhone with Wallet cards?

Visit any iPhone retailer with Wallet app proof of identity to purchase replacement phone. Reach out to your bank and card companies too about any stored cards that were compromised. Sign back into Wallet on new replacement phone and re-add cards to resume contactless payments securely with Apple Pay.

Can I transfer Apple Wallet items to a new iPhone?

When you set up a new iPhone, there is option to import Wallet passes and cards from old iPhone during initial configuration walkthrough or via iCloud sync across devices sharing same Apple ID account.

Is Apple Wallet available on Android or Windows phones?

No. Apple Wallet and Apple Pay are proprietary digital wallet and contactless payment services exclusive to Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac devices as part of the Apple ecosystem.

Does Apple Pay cost anything extra per transaction?

No, Apple Pay doesn’t charge anything beyond your normal bank, credit/debit card transaction fees. Contactless convenience is included free as part of iOS and watchOS.

Which retailers accept Apple Pay in stores?

Most major chains now support contactless Apple Pay at POS ranging from grocery stores, pharmacies, home improvement, electronics, fashion and other retailers accepting contactless transactions. Continue to carry a spare physical payment card until you confirm each small business accepts mobile wallet payments.

Can I use Apple Pay at an ATM?

Select ATM models support contactless card transactions similar to stores. Consult your bank to confirm Apple Pay debit card compatibility at their ATMs. Support is still limited however compared to in-person store terminals. Cash withdrawals still require physical bank card in most cases currently.

Is Apple Pay only for Apple devices?

Yes. While contactless payments are common across platforms, Apple Pay and Wallet specifically require iPhone, iPad, MacBook or Apple Watch running latest iOS/watchOS software with authenticated Apple ID to store cards for checkout tokenization taps.

Can lost Apple Watch still make payments?

No. Payment authorization relies on owner’s passcode, Touch ID or Face ID from a paired iPhone during each Apple Pay transaction. Lost watches are remotely disabled via iCloud lock and wipe to prevent unauthorized access to stored Wallet contents.

Do all US stores accept Apple Pay now?

While most major chains are enabled after significant growth of contactless POS terminals, some smaller shops still lack NFC equipment upgrades needed to accept mobile wallet payments like Apple Pay. But coverage continues improving to one day make physical wallets obsolete.

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