It’s Pizza Friday, and the pizzas are spread out on the conference room table. The usual sign asking everyone to chip in some money has been replaced with a request for Apple Pay Cash. Before you reach for a slice, here’s what you need to know about Apple Pay Cash.
Apple Pay Cash is Apple’s new person-to-person payment service, designed to make it easy for individuals to send and receive money. It’s perfect for repaying a friend who buys movie tickets or chipping in on a gift with your siblings. Or rather, it’s perfect if your friends and siblings use iPhones with iOS 11.2 or later—for green-bubble Android acquaintances, you can instead rely on cross-platform services like Venmo, Circle, and Square Cash. Here’s how to start using Apple Pay Cash.
The first step involves setting up Apple Pay on your iPhone, if you’ve not yet done so. Go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Add Credit or Debit Card, and follow the prompts to add at least a debit card. With Apple Pay enabled, you’ll see an image of your debit or credit card in the Wallet app. And, when you want to pay for something at a store, if the payment terminal allows it, you can hold your iPhone near the terminal and tap the Home button (or glance at the iPhone X). But Apple Pay Cash is about paying individuals, not businesses. You’ll also need two-factor authentication turned on in Settings > Your Name > Password & Security—two-factor authentication is essential for security.
With Apple Pay enabled, it’s time to set up Apple Pay Cash. Tap Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Apple Pay Cash, and run through the setup process. You might be asked to verify your identity after setup—this step is necessary to send or receive more than $500.
When you’re done, you’ll have a new Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app. This virtual card stores money you receive and works like any other debit card for payments. If it doesn’t have enough money on it to cover a payment, you can choose any other card you’ve added to Apple Pay. You can also add money to it or withdraw money to a linked bank account. You’ll want to use a debit card when adding money or paying beyond your balance with Apple Pay Cash, since then there is no transaction fee. A credit card incurs a 3% fee.
To send or request money via Apple Pay Cash, you work in the Messages app. While in an iMessage thread (blue bubbles) with the person with whom you want to exchange money, make sure the app drawer is showing (tap the app button if necessary) and then tap the Apple Pay button in the drawer.
A panel appears where you can set the amount: use the – and + buttons, or tap the amount to show a keypad where you can enter an exact amount, with cents if necessary. Then tap Request or Pay to insert the transaction into a message. It won’t be sent until you tap the black send button, so if you change your mind, you can tap the little x to delete. Lastly, you’ll be prompted to verify the transaction, which means authenticating with Touch ID (or Face ID on the iPhone X).
You can even use Siri to initiate transfers: “Send my father $6.” Or “Ask Josie Smith for $12.10.” And if you have an Apple Watch with watchOS 4.2 or later, you can also send money from the watch’s Messages app, or send or request money via Siri. Double-press the side button to confirm the transaction.
Apple Pay Cash is a convenient way to transfer funds among friends and relatives. The only downside is that it works only within the Apple world. On the upside, it’s easy to set up, easy to use, and one less reason to haul around a lot of cash.