How Does Apple Pay Know Which Card To Use?

You can easily, safely, and privately make payments with Apple Pay in retail stores, within apps, and on websites in Safari. But how does Apple Pay know which card to use if you registered more than one?

Price when reviewed: $399


How to set up Apple Pay

How Does Apple Pay Know Which Card To UseUpon installing iOS 8.1 or later in your device, you can proceed to set up Apple Pay in the Wallet app: simply tap the ‘+’ icon in Wallet to add a credit or debit card in one of two ways:

  1. Select a card that is already on file with iTunes, or
  2. Scan your card with the camera

Credit and debit cards are typically verified in a few seconds, though some cards may require an app download, an email, or a phone call to verify the card before it is available on Apple Pay. Once the card is verified, you can use it right away to make purchases in stores or within apps.

You can easily manage the cards added by going to ‘Settings’ in the ‘Wallet and Apple Pay’ section. When adding a card, you are supposed to input other information such as an email, phone number, and billing address. Tapping on any card allows you to view specific information, such as the last few digits of the card number; the last digits of the Device Account Number, and contact details for the bank that issued the card.

Apple Pay supports most of the main debit and credit cards providers, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, federal payment cards, etc.

How does Apple Pay know which card to use?

You can register up to 8 cards with Apple Pay at one time. You can then choose one of those cards to act as your default Apple Pay card whenever you make a payment, unless you override it by choosing a different card at the point of payment.

Option 1: Using the default card

To pay with your default card with an iPhone, rest your finger on Touch ID while holding your iPhone within one inch of the contactless reader until a checkmark appears on the display.

To use the default card with your Apple Watch, double-click the side button while holding the display of your smartwatch within one inch of the contactless reader. Maintain this position for a few seconds, until you feel a gentle tap.

In addition, you may need to note the following:

  • Choose Credit when faced with the option to choose Credit or Debit on the terminal
  • Use the Device Account Number when asked to provide the last four digits of your card
  • For iPhone users, open Wallet, select your card, and then tap the ‘I’ icon to view the Device Account Number; for Apple Watch, you will need to open the Watch app on your paired iPhone, select Wallet & Apple Pay, and then tap your card to view the DAN.
  • Some retail stores may require you to enter a PIN or sign a receipt to complete the transaction

Option 2: Using a different card instead of the default

To make payments using a different card on your iPhone, hold your iPhone near the reader with your finger off the Touch ID. Tap your default card when it appears, and then tap the card you want to pay with. Complete the transaction by placing your finger on Touch ID to pay.

If using the Apple Watch, click the side button twice. When the default card appears, swipe right or left to select another card. Complete the transaction by holding your wrist near the reader to pay.

Option 3: Using a rewards card

Participating stores allow Apple Pay users to receive and redeem rewards. If you have a rewards card, simply add it to Wallet and use it the next time you use Apple Pay in a transaction. For the card to appear automatically in a store, go to the card, tap the “I” icon, and then activate ‘Automatic Selection’.

After using the rewards card, Apple Pay will automatically switch to your default payment card to be charged for the purchase. Some stores allow you to apply both the rewards card and the payment card in a single step. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the cashier or terminal asks for payment.

Keep track of your transaction history

Viewing your card in Wallet allows you to see a number of things depending on your bank, including: the last transaction for each credit/debit card and the last 10 transactions made via Apple Pay from one or multiple devices.

For final transaction details, you may want to refer to the credit/debit card statement issued by your bank.

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