How Apple Wallet Works

If you have an iPhone, you already may be familiar with Apple's Wallet app. What you may not know is that this simple app is a central hub to all payments made through your iPhone - plus for storing loyalty cards, riding transit systems and potentially maintaining your driver's license in the future!


Apple Card

Unlike bank-branded credit cards like those issued directly by Chase, the Apple Card is known as a co-brand credit card, with its experience and benefits marketed under the Apple name but still issued and serviced by Goldman Sachs Bank (as you'll notice on the back of the physical card). There's no annual fee attached and all digital aspects of the card conveniently live inside the Apple Wallet app.


If you're what we call a credit card "gamer," the Apple Card will not blow you away with its package of rewards. Like most co-brand credit cards, it does pay out higher rewards for purchases made with the brand, Apple: 3% unlimited cashback on all Apple purchases and 2% on non-Apple transactions made with Apple Pay, which increases to 3% for select retail partners like Walgreens and Uber. But, use the card anywhere else and you'll only get the standard 1% cashback.

While the rate at which you earn rewards with the Apple Card is not overly compelling, its cashback rewards are arguably more "liquid" than the dollars you earn with other cashback cards: able to be redeemed daily. The cashback you earn gets added to the balance in the Apple Cash card inside Apple Wallet and you have the option of using it to make P2P payments, applying it as statement credit or transferring it to your linked bank account in the app.


You can begin using card through Apple Pay or online the second you're approved for it. Once the physical card arrives in the mail, making in-store purchases with it works just like any other credit card. When needing to enter card information for online or in-app purchases, you'll notice something odd: the card has no account number on it. This is intentional, designed to improve security over your card. To access it, go to your card in the Apple Wallet, tap the button in the upper right-hand corner and then "Card Information."

Once a purchase is made - online, through an app or in a retail store - you'll instantly receive a push notification that provides detail around purchase amount, store contact information, your spending history with that merchant and, for Apple purchase, an itemized breakdown of the order. For Apple's many expensive products, the card provides the option to break an order into interest-free, monthly installments.


The Apple Card experience is easily managed inside the Wallet app, an area where Apple Card truly sets itself apart. When your bill due date approaches, you'll receive reminders that direct you to an interactive dial inside the app that allows you to toggle on the amount you wish to pay and clearly specifies how much interest you'll pay at different payment amounts.

If it seems like the Apple Card is the opposite of a traditional credit card, it's because that's how it was designed. By navigating to the "More" button in the upper right-hand corner of the app, you can quickly get in touch with text or phone-based customer support. Inside the app, you'll be able to access detailed views of your spending; across time, categories, merchants, locations and more.

While the Apple Wallet will supply you with just about every spending insight you could ask for, it's still helpful to manage the card in conjunction with your other financial accounts. So, one aggravating aspect of the Apple Card - an extension of being a co-brand card - is its absence in many budgeting and digital banking apps. For this reason, you have to manage it in isolation, rather than view the card's spending and balance as part of your full financial picture.


Apple Pay (P2P)

With such a seamless line of communication already in place with iMessage, the delivery of Apple's peer-to-peer (P2P) payments happens exclusively through text messages, with your P2P balance living in the "Apple Cash" card inside your Wallet.


The Apple Wallet app comes pre-installed on all iPhones, so there's very little configuration needed on your end to get started with Apple P2P. What you'll need is to connect a bank account or debit card to Apple Cash, which can be done by navigating to the Apple Cash card inside the Wallet, tapping the "More" > "Bank Account" buttons and then entering your bank routing and account numbers.


To make a payment to a friend, family member or colleague, go to the iMessage conversation of your intended recipient and enter the amount you wish to pay. You can, of course, add additional text and emojis to elaborate on what the payment is for. Before sending, you will be prompted to select a funding source - either your balance with Apple Cash or a debit card stored in Apple Wallet. Note that, while other P2P apps allow you to pay with a credit card at an additional fee of 3%, Apple's P2P service does not support credit cards as a funding source.

To request money, follow the same initial steps and then select "Request" instead of "Pay" inside your text conversation.


Apple Pay (Mobile Wallet)

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