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7 ways to troubleshoot if Apple Pay isn’t working on your phone

Though Apple Pay is a typically seamless system, there are times where it won’t work properly.

Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Images

  • If Apple Pay is not working on your iPhone, make sure the terminal works with Apple Pay. 
  • If it does, try selecting the credit card manually from your Wallet app. 
  • Other tips include replacing your credit card in the Wallet app and signing out and back into your Apple ID.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple Pay is one of those signs that we are living in the future. Rather than reaching for a wallet full of cash — or even a cache of plastic credit cards — you can now just place the same smartphone you use for texting, taking pictures and watching TikTok videos near the register and automatically charge your credit account.

At least when it’s working, Apple Pay streamlines your life and your pockets. But when Apple Pay goes awry, it can ruin your day. Here are seven ways you can fix Apple Pay when it’s not working. 

Make sure the point-of-sale terminal works with Apple Pay

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. Even though we’re well into the 21st century, there are still point-of-sale terminals that don’t work with contactless payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

If you try bringing your iPhone near a terminal and nothing happens, ask the person behind the counter if it supports Apple Pay. They’ve likely been asked many times already and can tell you not just whether it works with Apple Pay, but where the best place to hold your phone is and if another terminal will give you better results. 

Try choosing a card manually

When Apple Pay and the terminal are working normally, the Apple Pay wallet launches automatically with your default card selected when you bring the phone near the terminal. But if that’s not working, it might just need a little help — choose a credit card manually and then try the terminal again:

1. Start the Wallet app on your iPhone.

2. Tap the card you want to use for the purchase.

Apple Wallet on iPhoneTry manually selecting a credit card before you bring the phone close to the terminal.

Dave Johnson

3. Bring the phone near the point of sale terminal. 

4. If it’s working, you’ll now be able to complete the transaction normally. 

Check Apple Pay’s system status

Apple System Status webpage in ChromeIt’s rare, but Apple services sometimes go offline.

Dave Johnson

Apple Pay depends on an online service to be up and running, and if Apple Pay is offline, you won’t be able to complete the transaction. Of course, Apple Pay has a very high uptime and it’s unlikely to not be working. But if you want to know if the problem is at your end or at Apple’s end, visit the Apple System Status webpage and see if Apple Pay & Wallet has a green status light. If it doesn’t, nothing you do at your end will fix it, so you should make a purchase the old fashioned way. 

Restart your iPhone

If you’re still unable to use Apple pay, you should try restarting your iPhone. This resets your phone’s memory and clears temporary caches, which can solve temporary glitches with Apple Pay and other system software. If you are not in a hurry (this will take several minutes), get out of line and restart the phone, then try again after the phone is back up and running.  

Replace your credit card in Apple Pay

From here on out, the potential fixes are increasingly inconvenient and time-consuming, so try them if nothing else works and you don’t want to enlist the help of Apple’s customer support. 

The easiest of these more involved fixes is removing and replacing the cards in your Apple Wallet. This is especially likely to fix your problem if you have several credit cards in your wallet but only one of them fails to work. By removing and replacing that problematic card, you may be able to fix a glitch in the way that card was stored or accessed. 

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap Wallet & Apple Pay.

3. In the Payment Cards section, tap the card that isn’t working properly and then tap Remove This Card. You will need to confirm this choice. 

Apple Wallet app in iOSIf a credit card isn’t working properly, remove it from the Wallet and add it back again.

Dave Johnson

4. Restart your phone.

5. Return to the Wallet & Apple Pay section in Settings.

6. In the Payment Cards section, tap Add Card

7. Follow the directions to add that same card back again. 

Sign out and back into your Apple ID

It’s possible that something has gone awry with the way you are signed into your Apple account, so in the same way that you might have tried to restart your iPhone or replace your credit card, you can sign out of your Apple ID and sign back in again. 

1. Before you begin, make sure you know your Apple ID. Look it up if necessary.

2. Start the Settings app.

3. At the top of the page, tap your name.

Settings in iOSAs a last resort, try signing out of your Apple ID and then back in again.

Dave Johnson

4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Sign Out. You’ll need to confirm that you want to do this. 

5. Restart your phone.

6. Return to the Settings app and sign back into your Apple ID. 

Contact Apple customer support

If none of those troubleshooting steps solved the problem, you should reach out to Apple customer support. It’s possible that you have a hardware problem — for example, the NFC chip used to communicate with the point of sale terminal might not be working. This isn’t something you can easily test or troubleshoot on your own, so enlist the help of Apple. 

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