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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 December 4th, 2016
Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Interest Free Period Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Enjoy 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for the first 18 months, a low annual fee, interest-free days on purchases and a low minimum credit limit.
0 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 19.74% p.a. $30 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Also, enjoy an annual fee waiver in the first year.
0 0 Up to 55 days on purchases 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ First Student Card
An ideal credit card for students with 44 days interest-free on purchases with $0 annual fee in the first year. Access your account on the go with the goMoney™ app.
0 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate
$100 Back plus 0% p.a. for the first 6 months on purchases from approval.
0 0 Up to 55 days on purchases 0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) $58 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
Enjoy platinum card benefits with $0 annual fee in the first year and complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
0 0 Up to 55 days on purchases 19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Rates last updated December 4th, 2016
Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Interest Free Period Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
1 Up to 55 days on purchases 14.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Receive 10,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Enjoy a $200 travel credit every year and get 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
1 0 Up to 55 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $195 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Discovery Card
Enjoy up to 7,500 bonus Qantas Frequent Flyer Points and 1 point per $1 spent, plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months, all for a $0 annual fee.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Enjoy 7,500 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement and earn up to 2 points for every $1 you spend, together with a $0 annual fee.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Enjoy up to 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum required spend and earn up to 3 rewards points per dollar spent. Also receive a complimentary return flight every year.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $349 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Premium Card
Earn as much as 30,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Enjoy frequent flyer benefits including uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent, complimentary travel insurance and Qantas Club lounge invitations.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $249 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Ultimate Card
Enjoy up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend, earn up to 3 Qantas Points for every $1 spent and get a free return flight every year.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases 20.74% p.a. $450 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Card
Receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement and earn up to 3 points per dollar spent. Gain access to travel insurance, $300 Platinum Travel Credit every year and access to 900 VIP airport lounges.
1 0 Up to 44 days on purchases $1,200 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Business Card
Receive 100,000 bonus points when you meet the minimum spend requirement and earn up to 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent.
1 0 Up to 51 days on purchases $1,500 p.a. Go to site More info

Lead Image: Shutterstock

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