How to set up and use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch

The iPhone isn't the only mobile device that can act as your wallet with Apple Pay. The new Apple Watch is also capable of making mobile payments. Here's what you need to know.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Dan Graziano
Scott Stein
2 min read

Watch this: Apple Pay on Apple Watch: How it works

The Apple Watch can do a lot of things. It can be used to communicate with others, view notifications from your smartphone, and even pay for items. That's right: you can use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch. It's relatively easy to set up, but the method is slightly different than what you may be used to with your iPhone. CNET's Scott Stein showed us how it's done, and it's pretty straightforward.

Adding a credit or debit card

Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, click Passbook & Apple Pay, and add a new credit or debit card. You can choose to use a card that's already on file with iTunes or scan in a new one. Either way, it's a separate authorization process than Apple Pay on your phone: each credit card gets a separate Apple Pay number that can be cancelled independently of your phone.

All you have to do is agree to Apple's terms of use, click Next, and verify the card with a text message that is sent to your iPhone, or with a phone call; your credit card or bank will offer various options for additional authorization.

The first card you enter will be set as the default. However, this can be changed to a different card from within the app. If you have multiple cards stored on your Watch, you will be able to choose the card you would like to use prior to payment, much like on the iPhone. To delete a card, tap it and select remove within the iPhone's Apple Watch app settings.

Using Apple Pay

Apple Pay on the Watch is incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is double-tap the side button, select the credit or debit card you would like to use, and hold the face of the watch to the payment terminal. The watch will vibrate, and a check mark will appear on the screen to confirm the payment has gone through. It's as easy as that. You don't need additional passwords or Touch ID. The watch asks for a password when it's taken off your wrist, but as long as it stays attached, you can make payments with that double-click.

If you ever lost your watch, you can de-authorize Apple Pay for that device remotely through iCloud or on your iPhone, and the watch will no longer be able to buy anything. Since the virtual credit card number is de-authorized, the Apple Watch can even be offline and still be cut off from making payments. Obviously, if this were to happen to you, we'd still advise keeping an eye on your credit card statements to be safe.

Speaking of which, one of the best parts about Apple Pay on the Watch is that it's completely standalone and can still be used when the watch isn't connected to an iPhone. To learn more about what the Apple Watch can do without an iPhone connection, check out this article from Scott Stein and be sure to read CNET's full review .