This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
The leading contactless payment system, Apple Pay, lets your customers pay via their Apple Watch or iPhone (iOS 6 and higher). It is secure for both merchants and customers and costs merchants the same processing fees as regular credit cards.
Accepting Apple Pay starts with choosing a compatible payment processor, purchasing an NFC card reader, setting up the Tap to Pay on iPhone feature, adding an Apple Pay button to your online checkout, and letting customers know you accept the mobile payment service.
Learn how to accept Apple Pay by following these steps:
Step 1: Choose a Payment Processor That Accepts Apple Pay
Most payment processors and merchant accounts handle Apple Pay transactions, usually at the same rates they charge for regular credit card transactions. Check the full list of ecommerce platforms and payment service providers that support Apple Pay.
If you already have a merchant account, call or check the Help section of its website for how to enable Apple Pay payments. You may need a new card reader or terminal that accepts contactless (tap) payments. Alternatively, Apple Pay’s new Tap to Pay on iPhone feature allows you to use your iPhone instead of an NFC reader to process payments.
If you are still shopping for a payment processor, below are some of our top recommendations:
- Square: Best overall
- Helcim: Best for storefronts and established businesses
- Payment Depot: Best for cheap processing fees
- Paypal Zettle: Best for Paypal users
- Stripe: Best for online payments
- Shopify: Best for ecommerce and multichannel retailers
- Clover: Best for those with a merchant account
Best Payment Processors Compared
In-store Transaction Fee
Online Transaction Fee
Tap to Pay
2.6% + 10 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
Interchange + 0.3% + 8 cents
Interchange + 0.5% + 25 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Interchange + 18 cents
2.29% + 9 cents
2.99% + 49 cents
2.7% + 5 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
$29+ (for software)
2.4% to 2.7%
2.4% + 30 cents to 2.7% + 30 cents
Varies by provider
2.6% + 10 cents
3.5% + 10 cents
*For the first reader only. Subsequent readers are $79 each.
**Clover NFC devices can be purchased through many different merchant account providers. Rates will vary depending on your provider.
Costs of Accepting Apple Pay
If you already accept card payments and have a contactless card reader, there are no additional costs for accepting Apple Pay. The fees for an Apple Pay transaction are the same as a card payment transaction.
Step 2: Purchase & Install NFC-enabled Hardware
Apple Pay—like other contactless payments—uses near-field communication (NFC) technology, which lets two systems communicate wirelessly when in close proximity to each other. Therefore, you need a card reader that has this kind of technology.
Most card readers are already so equipped, but there are still a few that aren’t, like Square’s free magstripe card reader. You’ll need to check that your card reader allows tap payments. If in doubt, check the specs or look for the wireless symbol on the reader.
Installing NFC Hardware for Apple Pay
Setting up your card reader is easy. Instructions may vary by app or point-of-sale (POS) system, but the basic steps are the same. We’ll use Square as an example. Make sure your software or app is updated before pairing your hardware.
Step 3: Use Apple’s Tap to Pay on iPhone Feature
If your business is not yet equipped with a card reader that accepts contactless payments, you may still accept Apple Pay using the Tap to Pay on iPhone feature. You will need to use at least an iPhone 11 running iOS 15.5 or later as your contactless card reader. The Tap to Pay on iPhone feature makes use of the iPhone’s built-in NFC reader to capture the payment information.
Setting up an iPhone for Tap to Pay
Check if your payment processor is capable of accepting payments using Tap to Pay on iPhone. Square and Shopify are two of the few processors equipped with this feature. We’ll use them for this example.
Accepting Payments Using an iPhone
After setting up your iPhone to accept payments using the Tap to Pay feature, your customers will be able to pay using their iPhone, contactless cards, and Apple Watch. Here’s a guide on how to do this in the Square and Shopify Point of Sale apps.
Step 4: Add an Apple Pay Button to Your Online Checkout
How easy it is to add Apple Pay to your online store depends on the payment processor and webstore program. Check the Help section of your specific software for instructions, but we’ll look at Shopify and Stripe as examples.
Step 5: Let Customers Know You Accept Apple Pay
Apple offers free decals and icons you can add to your brick-and-mortar and online stores. It also has instructions for adding notices to your Maps setting and provides other guidelines. Learn more at Apple Pay. Some payment processors, like Square, offer their own Apple Pay marketing kit.
How Can Your Customers Use Apple Pay?
For customers to use Apple Pay, they will have had to sign up for it on their iPhones and put in their credit card information. After that, using Apple Pay is simple: The customer simply holds their iPhone within an inch of the card reader while they have their finger on the Touch ID. Then, they wait until they see Done and a check mark on the display. Some systems may have a different notification.
Benefits of Accepting Apple Pay
- Speed: Apple Pay, like other contactless payments, processes quicker than credit card payments (both chip or stripe) and is certainly faster than cash. That means faster checkouts, shorter lines, and greater customer satisfaction.
- Secure for customers: Apple Pay tokenizes and encrypts card data, making it hard for fraudsters to access it. It also requires fingerprint verification or authentication using the customer’s phone password. So even if a thief had a customer’s phone, they still can’t get the Apple Pay account.
- Secure for businesses: When using Apple Pay for online payments, Apple saves all the card information, so you don’t need to worry about saving customer card info.
- Health: In light of COVID-19, people are more concerned than ever about reducing how often they touch things that others have handled, whether cash or a card reader. NFC payments provide a safe alternative for your customers and employees.
- Popularity: Apple Pay has around 45.4 million users in the US, making it the top mobile payment option, ahead of Google Pay and Samsung Pay. It is available in 69 countries, and according to Statista, more than 55% of US and Canadian consumers have used it to buy something in person (nearly 65% in the UK). The percentage is between 20%–30% for online sales in these countries.
- Reduced abandoned carts: Some of the top reasons for people not completing online sales are because they didn’t trust a site with their credit card information (18%) and their frustration with the checkout process (17%). Apple Pay makes it easy and keeps card information to itself.
Alternatives to Apple Pay
Although many customers still prefer to pay using cash or card, there is significant growth in mobile payment use. From 2020, there was a 9.7% increase in the number of mobile payment users and a 49.5% increase in mobile payment transactions in 2021.
If you would like to offer other mobile payment options besides Apple Pay, the top options are Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Both work pretty much the same way as Apple Pay. For Google Pay, you will need to install the app, which is available for both Android and iOS. On the other hand, Samsung Pay is only available on Samsung phones and watches.
Accepting Apple Pay Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is using Apple Pay a good idea?
Yes, it is. Secure and easy for both merchants and customers, Apple Pay is a good way to send and receive payments.
Are there additional costs for accepting Apple Pay?
The only additional cost may be for an upgraded card reader if your current card reader does not take NFC payments. You may also choose to use the Tap to Pay on iPhone feature if you have an iPhone and prefer not to purchase an NFC reader. Apply Pay costs the same as processing a regular credit card.
Is Apple Pay secure?
Very! In addition to encrypting and tokenizing card information, it requires fingerprint verification when paying.
Does Apple Pay work differently on Apple Watch?
The process is the same for Apple Pay on Apple Watch, although there is no fingerprint requirement for the watch. The watch simply needs to stay on the wrist and needs to be paired with the phone.
Can I accept Apple Pay online and in person?
Yes, you can program your online store to accept Apple Pay.
Apple Pay accounted for 88% of mobile wallet transactions in the US in 2021. Learning how to accept money on Apple Pay for your business can speed up checkout, improve customer satisfaction, and help increase the number of sales. Talk to your payment provider about accepting Apple Pay to get started with this convenient and secure mobile payment service.