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Apple Pay

Apple Pay allows you to make contactless payments using only your iPhone or Apple Watch. Here’s how it works and how you can use it in Australia.

How does Apple Pay work?

For most Australians, contactless payments are nothing new. Most credit cards support tap and go payments, whether it’s using Visa’s underlying payWave infrastructure or Mastercard’s PayPass.

Apple Pay fundamentally works the same way, except instead of digging your credit card out of your wallet and tapping it on the terminal, you tap your iPhone or Apple Watch. Your fingerprint or a secure code is used to verify each purchase made from your chosen bank account or credit card.

The inclusion of NFC (Near Field Communication) chips built into these devices creates a "virtual" card and doesn't distinguish between whether it’s a payWave or PayPass card, or an Apple Pay device. Apple Pay isn’t the only competitor in the smartphone payments space, with Google’s Android Pay and Samsung Pay also set to launch in Australia by the end of 2016.

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Is Apple Pay secure?

Apple Pay is as secure as a standard NFC "tap and go" credit card. It uses the same underlying infrastructure that authorises card payments, but Apple Pay’s usage of fingerprints for biometric authentication gives it an added layer of security. As that fingerprint data is stored securely on the device, it can't be stolen from elsewhere in the network. This feature gives Apple Pay an added layer of security when compared to credit cards.

People won't be able to get your fingerprint data, so they won't be able to make unauthorised transactions even if they steal your phone. A stolen credit card, on the other hand, can be used for small transactions (typically under $100) without additional verification.

It’s worth noting that if you’re using the Apple Watch as your Apple Pay device, a passcode is used instead of TouchID. This feature is slightly less secure, although the fact that no identifying credit card information – your credit card number, expiry date and so on – is stored or visible on an Apple Watch or iPhone during an Apple Pay transaction means it’s more secure. The usual protections that your institution offers against fraud should also apply to any Apple Pay transaction.

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What do I need to use Apple Pay?

To access Apple Pay you need an iOS device with Apple Pay compatibility. On the iPhone side, that’s the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE. If you’ve got an Apple Watch, you can use it with any of those devices, as well as the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s.

You don’t have to update your iOS installation on your iPhone every time there’s a new update, but if you’re on an older iPhone device with a much older iOS variant, you may have to update to access Apple Pay. Once you’ve passed that hardware hurdle, you need a financial institution that supports Apple Pay in Australia.

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Which banks support Apple Pay in Australia?

Apple Pay launched in the US back in 2014, but has been remarkably slow coming to Australia. American Express was the first to launch Apple Pay down under in late 2015, and even then it was only for cards directly issued by Amex. No other Amex cards offered Apple Pay because the interchange rate that Apple wanted from the banks for each Apple Pay transaction led to lengthy negotiations.

The first of the big banks to jump on the Apple Pay bandwagon in Australia was ANZ, which now offers Apple Pay to its customers and has seen a significant rise in that customer base. It’s expected that the other major banks will get on board with Apple Pay, simply due to the widespread use of iPhone devices in Australia.

It’s worth noting that if you hold a credit card from a financial institution in a country where Apple Pay has already rolled out – for example, the USA or UK – you may be able to use Apple Pay through your overseas card while travelling in Australia. Check with your provider prior to travelling.

Comparison of Credit Cards with Apple Pay

Rates last updated September 16th, 2019
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
ANZ First
20.24% p.a.
$30 p.a.
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Rewards Plus
1
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a yearly annual fee refund when you spend $6,000 and 2 lounge passes per year.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Citi Rewards Program
1
0% for 13 months, reverts to 20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks. Ends 30 September 2019.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$45 p.a.
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers, plus a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. on purchases.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
50,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74% p.a.
$375 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 for the first 3 months. Plus, 100 Status Credits and luxury travel perks.
American Express Gold Business Card
Membership Rewards Ascent
1.5
N/A
$169 p.a.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 p.a. revenue. A business card with no pre-set spending limit, data feeds to MYOB and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.
American Express Velocity Business Card
Velocity Frequent Flyer
1
N/A
$249 p.a.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 p.a. revenue. A business charge card offering Velocity Points per $1 spent and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
100,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Citi Rewards Program
1
20.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Velocity Frequent Flyer
0.75
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases and save with a $0 annual fee for life and a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
120,000 bonus points
Qantas Business Rewards
1.25
N/A
$450 p.a.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 p.a. revenue. Get 120,000 bonus Points, 3x points on eligible Qantas flights and 2 yearly lounge passes. Ends 25 Sept 2019.
Citi Rewards Signature Credit Card
120,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program
1
20.99% p.a.
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Offers 120,000 bonus reward Points, a $199 first year annual fee, airport lounge passes and premium perks.

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