Cha-ching: Everything you need to know about Apple Pay Cash

Apple's new peer-to-peer payment system, detailed
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In the world of NFC contactless payments, Apple Pay is probably the biggest name. It's also pretty simple to understand: You add your credit or debit card to your phone or Apple Watch, then you tap it to compatible terminals to pay.

No card. No signing. Just a simple tap. This year, with the introduction of iOS 11.2 and watchOS 4, Apple has introduced a new element to Apple Pay called Apple Pay Cash. It essentially allows you to directly send money to other Apple users via iMessage.

Read this: How to set up Apple Pay

It doesn't work as simply as Apple Pay does, and you might not even realize it exists when you update to watchOS 4.2, which contains Apple Pay Cash. That's why we've put together this handy guide for you.

What is Apple Pay Cash?

Cha-ching: Everything you need to know about Apple Pay Cash

At first glance, Apple Pay Cash comes across as some kind of peer-to-peer payment service, like Venmo or even PayPal. While that's true, when you look at what's actually going on, it's even more simple.

Apple Pay Cash is essentially a fancy debit card where you can store money. That's it. You can add money to it to make purchases in retail stores and online, or even in apps. It's a bit like a prepaid debit card in that way, making it useful for people who either can't or don't want to open credit cards.

The other big feature Apple Pay Cash enables is payments to friends and family. You can send people money from your stored cash, and they can send you money in return.

How do you set it up?

Cha-ching: Everything you need to know about Apple Pay Cash

Setting up Apple Pay Cash is actually incredibly easy. All you have to do is head to settings on your phone, then to 'Wallet & Apple Pay'. There's a toggle for Apple Pay Cash up at the top, so make sure that's toggled on.

Once that is, you just need to click 'Apple Pay Cash' under 'Cards'. You'll only have to agree to terms and conditions and then Apple Pay Cash will get set up. You'll then be prompted to add a debit card so that you can withdraw money from you bank account to your Apple Pay Cash card without paying fees. If you've already got a debit card set up with Apple Pay, you won't need to do this.

Once you've got it set up, you can use Apple Pay Cash as you do other credit and debit cards to pay for things at stores and restaurants.

How do you transfer money?

To add money to your Apple Pay Cash card, you'll need to use your iPhone. Head on over to the Wallet & Apple Pay section of settings, then tap your Apple Pay Cash card.

You'll see an option to 'Add money'. Click this and simply choose your amount. The minimum you can add is $10, while the maximum you can add is $3,000. You can add a maximum of $10,000 per week. You can only add money from a debit or prepaid card, and your limit is $20,000.

If you want to transfer money back to your bank, you simply click 'Transfer to Bank'. Just like adding money, you can choose your own amount. However, you can only transfer a minimum of $1 and a maximum of $3,000. In a week, you can only transfer up to $20,000.

How do you send money to friends?

There are two ways to send and receive money to friends and family with Apple Pay Cash. Both of them route you through iMessages because, technically, Apple Pay Cash's peer-to-peer payments is an iMessage app.

On your Apple Watch, head to messages and choose a conversation. Scroll down to where you get your message options, like emoji and scribble, and you'll see an Apple Pay logo. Click that and you'll get a prompt to choose your amount.

You can use the Digital Crown to choose your amount. The maximum you can transfer to a friend is $3,000, while the minimum is $1. The total you can transfer someone in a week is $10,000. Once you've chosen your amount, click pay. You may have to double click the side button to send it through.

Alternatively, you can tell Siri to pay your friend. If you want to request money for a friend as they're conveniently "forgetting" to pay you back for that tuna sandwich, you can do so by asking Siri to "ask Kyle to pay me $5". This will send your friend a prompt, and they just have to select it to pay you back that specific amount.

How do you accept payments?

There are two ways to accept payments, and you can choose between them in the Apple Pay Cash section of the Wallet & Apple Pay portion of settings. You can either automatically or manually accept payments from friends and family.

Automatic acceptance is what it sound like. The payment will automatically get added to your Apple Pay Cash card. Manual acceptance will alert you to an incoming payment and ask you to accept or deny it.

If you don't have enough Apple Pay Cash

Cha-ching: Everything you need to know about Apple Pay Cash

It's always an annoyance. What happens if you don't have enough Apple Pay Cash to pay your friend? Well, that's simple. Apple Pay will automatically pull the remaining balance from your credit or debit cards. So if you need to pay your friend $25, and you only have $20, it'll pull the remaining $5 from other cards.

You can choose which card you want to use, much of this works the same way it does with regular Apple Pay. However, if you use a credit card to supplement your Apple Pay Cash you'll be hit with a 3% fee. If you use a debit card, there are no additional fees.

How to cancel or dispute a payment

You've made a terrible mistake. You accidentally sent $7 for that awesome dessert to the wrong person. What do you do now? Well, you can ask them to not accept the payment, or to pay you back.

You can also cancel the payment if they haven't accepted it. To do this, open up your iPhone and head to either the message where the payment was sent or your Apple Pay Cash transaction history, which is available in the Apple Pay Cash section of Wallet & Apple Pay in settings.

Just click on the payment, then click the status field. There will be a section to cancel the payment. If it's available, just click to cancel. If it's not, it means they've already accepted it.

If you ask them and they don't want to return the payment, you can open up a dispute with Apple. However, Apple does warn that Apple Pay Cash is pretty much like every other private, person-to-person cash dispute.

How we test

Husain Sumra


Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.

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