How to use Apple Pay in Australia with American Express

Alex Kidman 19 November 2015

apple-sep2014-event-09Apple Pay is finally officially available in Australia via American Express. Here’s what you need to know.

Apple Pay launched in the US more than a year ago, but the going has been slow for local acceptance of the technology, mostly as Apple jostled with the local banks over the exact rates paid for each Apple Pay transaction.

Recently, however, American Express indicated its plans to launch Apple Pay for its customers in Australia by the end of the year. Today it has formally launched Apple Pay via American Express in Australia.

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay works much like your existing contactless credit card in that it uses NFC technology to allow you to process a payment at a terminal.

The difference is that instead of a dedicated chip with a single verification factor hard coded into it, it uses your iPhone as the "card", with your fingerprint via TouchID used to verify the purchase itself. Apple Pay also works for online purchases in this way through a variety of merchants if you have an American Express card.

How do I set up Apple pay on my iPhone?

Apple Pay only works with iPhone devices with inbuilt NFC, which means that you’ve got to have an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to use it in store; it’s also compatible with Apple Watch if you have one paired to your compatible device.

You also have to have updated to the latest version of iOS 9 for the relevant Wallet app to work properly. Once that’s done, opening up the Wallet app will prompt you to add your American Express card, or verify the code on an existing card if you’ve previously added it to your iTunes card.

Will it work with every American Express card?

The biggest catch with Apple Pay at launch in Australia is that it won’t work with every card with an American Express logo on it.

At launch, Apple Pay will only work with American Express cards issued directly from American Express itself. That means that if you’ve got a American Express card issued from your bank with their logo on it as well, it won’t be compatible with Apple Pay at this time. That still gives you a range of card options to choose from; our handy guide to choosing the right American Express card may be of help here.

Which merchants will work with Apple Pay?

At launch, the following merchants will accept Apple Pay payments:

  • AMEX contactless terminals
  • Bunnings
  • Coles
  • David Jones
  • Harris Farm
  • Harvey Norman
  • Hoyts
  • K-Mart
  • McDonald's
  • Myer
  • Officeworks
  • Shell
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Telstra
  • Woolworths
  • Zara

A variety of Australian online shopping locations will also support Apple Pay via American Express cards, including Kogan, Living Social, Brands Exclusive, Eat Now and The Home.

Other physical locations that accept American Express and with the necessary NFC infrastructure may accept payment via Apple Pay, but it would pay to check first before heading out with only your iPhone or Apple Watch to hand.

If you’re hunting for somewhere to use your American Express card and Apple Pay in Australia, try these handy lists of participating merchants:

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