Apple Pay is growing as a convenience of the modern world. The number of outlets that now let you use the NFC technology in your iPhone to pay for goods is increasing, and it’s arguably the fastest and most secure way to make your transactions (alongside wireless chip cards).
But Apple Pay isn’t perfect, and sometimes it can stop working. There are many potential reasons why this happens, and we’re here to take you through some of the most common (and least common) fixes for Apple Pay not working.
Is Your Phone Case Interfering?
It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but phone cases can interfere with the NFC communications that Apple Pay relies upon. The rubber heavy-duty shockproof cases that encase your entire phone can sometimes be too thick for the NFC to work. Cases that have metal or magnetic elements to them (such as those that attach to in-car mounts) can be problematic as well.
The best way to test this is, of course, to take your iPhone out of its case and test Apple Pay. If it works this way but not when it’s in the case, then you may need to look into getting a new phone case.
Sign Out and Back in to Your Apple Account
Some users who have been attempting to use Apple Pay between their iPhone or Apple Watch and an NFC reader on their Mac have reported this solution. While this method has worked when using Apple Pay with a Mac, it’s also worth trying if Apple Pay on your phone doesn’t work in shops or other scenarios. You have to sign out and back in to your Apple account.
On your iPhone or iPad, please do the following: (We’re using an iPad for this tutorial.)
- Open “Settings” on your device.
- Tap your “Apple ID.”
- Scroll down and select “Sign Out.”
- Confirm you want to sign out. If you want to keep a copy of any of your information on the device, check the applicable items. Everything you’ve stored in iCloud remains in iCloud.
- Sign back in by going to “Settings” again and tapping on the “Sign in to your iPhone/iPad” at the top.
- If you’re using a Mac, click “Apple menu -> System Preferences -> iCloud -> Sign Out.”
- Sign in again.
Make Sure Apple Pay Isn’t Down
If Apple Pay isn’t working, you may assume that something isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad, but that isn’t always the case. It could simply be that the web service that Apple Pay uses on the backend is currently down. If this is the case, you may just need to wait a few minutes until it’s back up.
The good news is that you won’t be stuck wondering if that’s the case with no confirmation. You can take a look at the Apple System Status website to see if there are any problems with the Apple Pay service. If Apple Pay shows as up and running, you can move on to the other tips here.
Try Using a Different Reader
If you’re trying to use Apple Pay at a store, we’re assuming you’ve already checked to ensure the store supports Apple Pay. Even if it does, you may run into trouble at certain terminals. If this is the case, you may want to check to see if the store has another terminal.
Try multiple terminals, if available. It could simply be that one of the terminals doesn’t work well with Apple Pay. If another terminal works for you, keep this in mind for future reference, if it’s a store you frequent.
Manually Select a Card
It’s possible that even if an Apple Pay-ready terminal will work with your phone, its NFC reader hasn’t properly detected Apple Pay. If you find that simply holding your phone up to the terminal doesn’t work, try selecting a card manually.
To do this, go into the Wallet app, then select the card you want to use. Hold your phone next to the reader. If this works, use Touch ID or Face ID when prompted, and your transaction should complete.
Restart Your iPhone
If none of the above options work for you, or if you are not using it at a store and are using it to buy something online, there are a few other steps you can try. The simplest is just to restart your phone.
People often assume that such a simple fix will never actually work. In reality, various stats and bits and pieces of data are reset inside your phone when you restart it. It’s possible that one of these was affecting Apple Pay, so a restart should fix that.
Charge Your iPhone
Another seemingly simple way to fix the Apple Pay not working problem is to simply charge your iPhone. The lower your battery, the more features that turn off to help preserve the remaining battery. If it drops to around 10%, Apple Pay may not work, so charge your device before shopping.
Re-Add Your Card
If you have a card that consistently has issues with Apple Pay, you may want to try removing it and re-adding it to Apple Pay. This is also handy if you’ve just received a new card from your credit card company, as the changed details may not always automatically register with Apple Pay.
To do this, open “Settings -> Wallet & Apple Pay” on your phone. Select the card you want to re-add, then tap “Remove Card.” Return to “Settings -> Wallet & Apple Pay,” select “Add Credit or Debit Card,” and follow the prompts to add your card.
Always Choose Credit
It may seem odd, but sometimes if you choose debit as your payment method on the payment terminal, Apple Pay won’t work. Try selecting credit, even if you’re using a debit card. This may solve the issue and allow you to pay with your debit card with no problem.
Ensure You Have Internet
While you may have a strong Wi-Fi signal at home, the stores you visit don’t always offer guest Wi-Fi, and you need a strong cellular or mobile data signal. If you’re having Apple Pay not working issues, check your signal strength. A weak connection could be the issue.
If you consistently have Internet problems with your iPhone, check out our list of fixes for cellular data not working.
Contact Your Bank
If you’ve exhausted all other methods, it’s possible your card is the issue. You can test the physical card in a store to see if it works. If not, contact your bank. Occasionally, credit and debit cards glitch and don’t work properly when physically swiping them or in mobile wallets.
Your bank may need to reissue you a replacement card. The card readers the store uses may also be having trouble with specific types of cards, and the bank may be able to resolve the issue for you and other customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why isn't Apple Pay accepting my card?
The most common reason is your card wasn’t issued by a participating bank, or the bank doesn’t allow that specific type of card to be used in digital wallets. Check with your bank to make sure. Some chip cards are known to have issues when trying to connect with Apple Pay. Contact your bank to find out whether this is the problem.
If my card's expiration date changes, will this affect Apple Pay?
Yes. Your expiration date is just as important as your credit card number. If either one of these changes, you must update your card information in Apple Pay. Otherwise, the app sees your card as expired and won’t work. If you’re suddenly having issues with a card you’ve been using for a while, compare the card and the app to see if the expiration date has changed.
Why is Apple Pay not working while traveling?
While Apple Pay is widely accepted in many countries and regions, it’s not available everywhere. Before traveling, ensure Apple Pay is accepted where you’ll be visiting.
Image credit: naipo.de via Unsplash All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.
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