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Apple Pay

I have never used Apple Pay and don't know anything about it. I'm wondering if it works in place of using ATM for cash or putting small items on credit card. Tentative plan is to visit London, France and Venice next fall if that makes a difference. Any information/advice will be helpful.

As always, thanks for your help.

Posted by
5979 posts

I have become a big user of AP. You can actually link it to a debit card as well, but I have never seen the ability to use it at an ATM to get cash. Linked to your credit card, It works great when it works. I find it doesnt work here maybe 10% of the time, and more places dont have it yet than you might think. Tap also works.

I will use it on my next trip, but I will also have my debit card for cash and a regular CC for backup as well.

Posted by
106 posts

Apple pay is a specific service in the category of PayPal or Venmo. You link it to a bank account or credit card and you can keep a balance in it (thereby giving Apple a free loan!)

Might you instead be referring to using your iPhone for contactless payment, which could draw money from ApplePay, or any card that you've loaded into the Wallet app.

I don't use the ApplePay service, but I've used the Apple Wallet with my cards for quite a while traveling, especially prior to more US-issued credit cards coming with contactless technology built-in. (I don't think I've seen ATMs that used contactless.) Now that I have a number of contactless cards, I dont use my phone for contactless payments as much. I find that FaceID is more cumbersome than TouchID was for that, and that was before masks. Tapping a card is just faster and smoother.

Posted by
6717 posts

Apple Pay is a payment tool linked to an iPhone linked-credit card that allows you to bypass the credit card when making a payment (the payment itself will post to that credit card; Apple Pay is just a platform for making that happen). However, not all merchants accept Apple Pay, so the first step to using it is to make sure it's an accepted form of payment with whatever vendor you are dealing with. Multi-national chains or large vendors are more likely to use Apple Pay in Europe than moms and pops.

It's not a money saving strategy per se....the terms of the underlying credit card (and the related fees, exchange rate, etc) dictate that. But it's a secure, easier, faster way to pay if it works with a reader that supports it.

Posted by
3789 posts

I set up a Wallet to my banking system specifically to use in San Francisco....and when went to pay for the service I wanted, it was not recognized because it was outside the US. I can't remember the exact wording, but it seemed to be the limitation of my location rather than a curtailment from my bank.

So it would be helpful to you to have feedback specifically for international use. Hopefully our UK members will chime in....or send them a PM if the title and location doesn't catch their interest.

Posted by
17980 posts

For those of us who eschew anything Apple, there is also something similar called Google Pay (I know someone who used it recently).

Any comments on it?

it works in place of using ATM for cash

How do you use it to get cash? Or do you just make a debit card purchase?

Posted by
3789 posts

@Lee, I think it was Google Pay that I set up that had difficulties 'internationally'. Considering the concept, I don't see it replacing a debit card for ATM cash use, but as mentioned, just a secure way of paying...though sometimes I think it is Apple and Google vying to take over the world.
I stand corrected, at least in the US, yes, you can withdraw from ATMs (both Apple Pay and Google Pay)that are set up for it....https://www.finder.com/bank-accounts/cardless-cash
I still think they are trying to take over the world....

Posted by
106 posts

MariaF -

I have used the Apple Wallet, accessing my credit or debit cards, to make payments with my for goods and services in at least 7 European (including UK) countries dating back to 2017 (at least...?)

Some countries do have per-transaction limits, which I have not come across using that here in the US.

Posted by
1251 posts

Thanks everyone! Maria, your link is very informative. I am trying to come up with an alternative to carrying a back up ATM card and not carrying as much cash.

It sounds like Apple Wallet is the cash form of Apple Pay? Does anyone one know if Google Pay works on an Apple phone?

Has anyone used either in Europe? And what was your experience?
Thanks Scudder, you posted while I was getting my thoughts together.

Posted by
361 posts

I use Apple Pay as often as I can. It is just so easy and I use it via my Apple Watch so I don't need to dig through my purse for my phone or my wallet. The convenience is perfect for me.

Posted by
106 posts

Horsewoofie -

The Apple vs Google systems aren't interchangeable—they're dependant on the phone you carry.

I was just reading about contactless ATMs- seems like most big banks here, in the US, have it. (I live in the sticks with only a small, local bank.) Now I'm curious about how widespread that is in Europe.

I actually just ran to CVS and forgot my wallet. Had my phone, so was able to pay without coming home (or tapping the emergency $20 in my glovebox).

Posted by
8946 posts

I have never seen the ability to use it at an ATM to get cash.

A lot of banks now allow their own customers at their own ATMs to get cash via Apple Pay.

However, not all merchants accept Apple Pay, so the first step to
using it is to make sure it's an accepted form of payment with
whatever vendor you are dealing with. Multi-national chains or large
vendors are more likely to use Apple Pay in Europe than moms and pops.

That may have been true ten years ago, but my experience it now has almost universal acceptance both here in the USA (at least on the East Coast) and western Europe, at businesses big and small. If the business accepts plastic there is a 99% chance that will also accept Apple/Google Pay and cards with the RFID chip:

-Last month I took a road trip from upstate NY to North Carolina, used Apple Pay everywhere from gas stations to small antique shops to chain stores to the rest areas on top of the Skyline Drive. The only merchants that didn't use it were sit down restaurants.

-February of last year just before the lock down I was in Berlin for a week, and used AP for 99% of my purchases. They only time I used cash was for the taxi to/from the airport and the wiener stand on Potsdamer Platz.

-London 2019, spent a week there never used cash once; apple pay all the way. This has been my experience in the UK for a while they were an early adopter of contactless payment. Even weekend merchants at markets like Spitalfields take AP. You can also use on the London metro system. Make sure you go into the wallet settings of your Iphone and activate the "express transit" option so you don't have to authorize your phone; you can just hold it up to the reader at the barriers

-June 2018 I was in Amsterdam for a week and literally used it for 100% percent of my purchases, at businesses big and small. A growing number of merchants haven also gone cashless. Never used cash even once.

Posted by
21202 posts

If you don't want to take a back up ATM card then get pin numbers for your credit cards and use them to obtain cash advances on your credit cards at ATMs. That is an expensive way to obtain local currency but it works. That is our third back up position if the first two debit cards fail.

Posted by
5979 posts

A lot of confusion here.

It sounds like Apple Wallet is the cash form of Apple Pay?

No. Apple Wallet is just the app on your iPhone through which you access the ApplePay service connection. Wallet can do several other things, like hold your airline tickets, concert tickets, or baseball tickets, etc. But ApplePay provides a connection to your bank credit card (or debit card) or to cash transfers like VenMo. So If I want to pay for something at the cash register, I open Apple Wallet first, then click on my credit card logo, and then enter my PIN number to charge it to my bank credit card. Your bank has to approve the link via ApplePay before you can start using this. I think thats why they called it Wallet, so its just like a wallet that you open to get your card out.

A lot of banks now allow their own customers at their own ATMs to get cash via Apple Pay.

At ATMs here in the US, but how about foreign countries? I'd be leery about depending on that one source without a backup. I'd be interested in the experience of other travelers.

Maybe access isn't an issue on the coast, but here in the Midwest, some large retailers like Lowes and Home Depot do not have it.

Posted by
8946 posts

At ATMs here in the US, but how about foreign countries?

Outside the US it's not possible as most US banks don't have branches in foreign countries.

Posted by
1251 posts

Thanks everyone for all the information. Sounds like Apple Pay is iffy in Europe so I'll stick with ATM, back-up ATM, VISA and back-up VISA. I appreciate all the info to help me through the thought process. And who know, in a year, a lot of things can change.
Kathy

Posted by
25760 posts

Kathy, I don't see how you get "iffy" from the related experiences.

You asked about London, France and Venice.

You will be able to use Apple Pay to make purchases at places which take contactless cards in all three of those.

In London that will be virtually everywhere including the Tube and buses.

In France it will be at bigger places.

In Venice it will almost everywhere.

It is very very easy to use.

The wallet isn't an issue. It holds the information that Apple needs to make the purchase, and you can look in it for records of what you've spent and various other docs you can add like boarding passes, membership cards, etc. You don't need to do anything with it at the time of purchase.

You can have many cards linked to Apple Pay (most of mine are credit cards but I do have a couple of debit cards too) and you can make one the default.

At the time of purchase hold the phone over the touchpad (doesn't need to touch - in Covid times here in England it is often the other side of a perspex/plexiglas window) and the default card will pop on screen. If that is the card you want to use identify yourself to the phone with face id or fingerprint and boom - all is done. Because there are often multiple ways to do things on a phone you can also preauthorize the Apple Pay before you approach the touchpad. Just two quick presses of the button (varies by model) opens the cards, choose the one you want, identify, and hold the phone near the touchpad and poof!.

If you want to use a different card than the default, pull away in the top step above after the Apple Pay has opened, scroll to or tap the card you want and continue. Sounds complicated - it really truly isn't, Kathy. All takes a second or two.

Posted by
5979 posts

horsewoofie, sorry if I added to the confusion, but Nigel is right. Simplified, ApplePay is immensely useful to make purchases home and abroad. Just not as a way to get cash from an ATM abroad.

Posted by
25760 posts

two things about stan's comment just above.

First - I have never seen an ATM in Europe (including England) which could be operated by Apple Pay,

and

Second - I have not been to an ATM since 2019. The £70 I put in my wallet then is the exact £70 I still have in my wallet. I hadn't used much cash in the months prior to Covid, almost all purchases were with Apple Pay (even the snack machines in the hospital where my wife was in February 2020 immediately prior to the apparent arrival of the plague here) and have made zero cash purchases of anything since. So ATMs may have changed in the interim, but I don't know...

Posted by
4897 posts

And if I'm not mistaken, Apple Pay on London Transit automatically has daily personal maximum payout applied, just like an Oyster Card. (I have and use an Oyster Card, so I can't report on this first-hand.)

Posted by
25760 posts

that's correct - but beware. If your phone has multiple cards don't either use or allow your phone to use more than one card for the transport or the capping won't happen and you'll pay more than you need to. Same as with physical plastic cards - mix on the tube and you lose.

You can set the Express Travel feature in Apple Pay to help with that...

Posted by
1173 posts

More info for Apple express transit can be found here.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209495

One nice feature is that once set up you don’t need to unlock your phone to pay. Just tap and go just like using an Oyster card. Seemed just as fast as an Oyster card too. No slight delay. Worked on TFL trains and buses.

For my last trip to London (Jan 2020). Apple Pay and contactless payment were ubiquitous. I can’t think of anyplace that didn’t accept it. Even the risotto stand in Borough market allowed me to pay by phone. I still have a back up stash of £ notes in case the card reader is not working.

Posted by
54 posts

I'm an American living in England and I use my Apple Pay for everything all the time! Definitely get it if you plan to come here... it's accepted everywhere and everyone uses it. It's so hassle free.

Also please note that some places will only take contactless cards or pay by phone (like Apple Pay). So definitely get it (or the google version) on your phone before you come.

Cheers!

Posted by
5301 posts

One advantage of Apple Pay (or Google Pay) that maybe has not been made clear, is that it essentially turns an American Chip and Signature card into a secure transaction, like Chip and PIN (though no PIN will be required). As for use, Apple is the majority phone in the UK, and Covid has helped implement the use of Apple Pay, so like others have said, you can securely use Apple Pay nearly everywhere in the UK, probably more than in the US.

France (40% of phones are IOS) and Italy (30% IOS) probably will have less use of Apple Pay, but Apple has marketed heavily in the tourist areas, and since most terminals are already some type of contactless, Apple Pay as an option should be present.

Posted by
361 posts

I just read a trip report on Trip Advisor for Iceland. The person was there just last week and they said that Apple Pay was everywhere and that they did not need to pull it their credit card even once. I am looking forward to that for our trip to Iceland!

Posted by
744 posts

I'm late to the party here, but I'll just add that our son, who was spending a semester in Edinburgh, started using Apple Pay there. When we came over to visit him and take the RS Scotland tour, I used it everywhere for everything. The only exception I recall was one small gift shop at a castle that had a minimum purchase for Apple Pay that was more than I was spending, so I used cash there. Otherwise, everyplace took Apple Pay without batting a proverbial eye.

Posted by
202 posts

I've been using Apple Pay in France for a little over a year. I resisted for some time due to distrust of Apple and of placing any financial information whatsoever on a portable, easily steal-able device. But after becoming better educated about it, I took the leap.

It's widely accepted in France (stores, restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, vending machines, etc.) and the only times I can recall it not working was when the payment terminal's sans contact (without contact) payment pad was broken, which required either a cash purchase or an insert-card-and-type-in-PIN purchase.

I have not used it to pay tolls on the Autoroute, though it probably would work. It's just easier to use my debit card sans contact.

Edit: I noticed a comment above included this statement (emphasis mine):

Apple pay is a specific service in the category of PayPal or Venmo. You link it to a bank account or credit card and you can keep a balance in it (thereby giving Apple a free loan!)

The bolded text is incorrect. The unbolded may be as well, but I'm unfamiliar with both PayPal and Venmo. In short, when using Apple Pay, you are not giving a "free loan" to Apple or anyone else. It's just a different means of making a payment from one of your existing cards using an app on your phone rather than the card itself.