With the launch of iOS 8.1 today, Apple has finally launched Apple Pay, the new NFC payment system that lets you make purchases using an iOS device. Unfortunately, it's only in the US, it's not for every iPhone and even the new iPads have some restrictions.
To sort out the intricacies of Apple's new payment system, we've put together a FAQ. Everything from which devices will work with the new system to which US banks are supported is covered here.
What is Apple Pay?
Apple Pay is Apple's new system for quickly making purchases at many major retailers or through in-app purchase. With Apple Pay, you'll be able to hold your iPhone up to a CREDIT CARD terminal then use Touch ID -- Apple's fingerprint tech -- to make a purchase. You'll also be able to buy stuff within apps, such as the Target app, just by using Touch ID at the appropriate time during checkout.
Is my iOS device compatible with Apple Pay?
If you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you can use Apple Pay both in stores and while making in-app purchases. Both of Apple's latest phones have Near Field Communication (NFC) chips at the top end of the device. They also both have a separate chip called the secure element (SE). Each time you initiate a transaction, the SE generates a one-use code in lieu of transmitting your debit or CREDIT CARD NUMBER.
The iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 also get Apple Pay because they both have the SE, but only for in-app purchases, because they don't have the NFC chip. This means if you're using the Target app, for example, you'll be able to purchase an item simply by using Touch ID, but you won't be able to use it at the credit card terminal in a checkout line at the actual store.
Unfortunately, if you have an iPhone 5S or older, your only solution is to use the Apple Watch, which also has the SE and NFC chips. The Apple Watch is tethered to your iPhone and will use your Touch ID in tandem with these chips to make a secure purchase.
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