Can you use Apple Pay at any store?

Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment and digital wallet service, allows users to make payments in stores, apps, and on the web using supported Apple devices like the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. But can Apple Pay be used at any store or location? Here’s a look at where Apple Pay can and can’t be used.

Stores and locations that accept Apple Pay

Apple Pay can be used at lots of major retail stores, restaurants, vending machines, and other locations. Here are some of the main places where Apple Pay is accepted:

  • Grocery stores like Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Aldi
  • Pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade
  • Convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Wawa, Circle K
  • Clothing and accessory stores like Nike, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s
  • Department stores like Target, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Best Buy
  • Gas stations like Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron
  • Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, Dunkin’
  • Coffee shops like Peet’s, Caribou Coffee, Philz Coffee
  • Food delivery services like Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates
  • Ride sharing apps like Uber, Lyft
  • Hotels like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt
  • Sports venues like stadiums and arenas
  • Vending machines
  • Parking meters and garages
  • Public transit for fares and tickets

Many small local businesses also accept Apple Pay. Any retailer that accepts contactless payments or payments through NFC (near field communication) technology likely accepts Apple Pay.

Stores and locations that don’t accept Apple Pay

While Apple Pay is widely accepted, there are some stores and locations where it can’t be used yet. Here are some examples:

  • Costco – Does not accept any contactless payments
  • Trader Joe’s – Does not have NFC-enabled terminals
  • Sam’s Club – Only takes Walmart Pay, does not take other contactless payments
  • Some gas stations like Pilot/Flying J – May only accept their own app/payment method
  • Many small independent retailers – Don’t have new terminals with NFC
  • Some vending machines – Lack NFC readers
  • Some highways, bridges, tunnels – No contactless readers at tolls

Many of these retailers and services are starting to adopt Apple Pay and other forms of contactless payments. But for now, Apple Pay may not work at these locations.

How to find out if a store accepts Apple Pay

Here are some tips for finding out if a store or location accepts Apple Pay before you try to use it for payment:

  • Look for the contactless/Apple Pay/tap-to-pay symbol at checkout. This looks like a sideways WiFi symbol. If it’s there, Apple Pay should work.
  • Check the store’s website or call and ask if they accept Apple Pay.
  • Look for signs near the register saying “Apple Pay accepted here.”
  • Ask the cashier or a sales associate if Apple Pay is accepted.
  • Add your cards to the Wallet app and look for the Apple Pay option when you’re in a store. This means your iPhone has detected a contactless terminal.
  • Try Apple Pay first with a small inexpensive purchase to test it out.

How to use Apple Pay in stores

Using Apple Pay in stores that accept it is very quick and convenient. Just follow these steps:

  1. Add your credit, debit, and rewards cards to the Wallet app on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
  2. When you’re ready to pay, wake your iPhone and double click the side button. On Apple Watch, double click the side button.
  3. Hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID or enter your passcode.
  4. A subtle vibration and beep will confirm when payment is complete.
  5. You’ll also see a checkmark on your device screen and get a receipt.

Using Apple Pay is often faster than swiping a physical credit card. You don’t need to sign any receipts for purchases under certain amounts either. It’s an easy, quick way to pay at checkout.

Stores and apps that accept Apple Pay

Apple has a long list on their website of all the popular stores, apps, and websites that accept Apple Pay. Some highlights include:

Retail Nike, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Duane Reade, Panera Bread, Staples, Petco
Gas Shell, Exxon, Mobil, BP
Food/Drink McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden
Grocery Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, Winn-Dixie, Fred Meyer
Entertainment AMC Theatres, Fandango, StubHub, GameStop
Travel Delta, American Airlines, Uber, Lyft
Apps Instacart, Postmates, Shopify, Etsy, GoFundMe

Hundreds of popular apps have also integrated Apple Pay for in-app and in-browser payments. And most websites that support payment services like PayPal typically support Apple Pay as well.

Using Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch

To use Apple Pay, you need an iPhone or Apple Watch model capable of making mobile payments:

  • iPhone – iPhone 6 or newer with Touch ID sensor or iPhone X with Face ID.
  • Apple Watch – Apple Watch Series 1 or newer paired with iPhone 5 or later.

As long as your device meets those requirements, you can complete the following steps to set up Apple Pay:

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the + icon in the upper right and follow prompts to add your credit or debit cards.
  3. Enter card details and verification codes. Your bank may require additional authentication.
  4. Agree to the Terms & Conditions.
  5. Cards will start working immediately for Apple Pay payments.

On Apple Watch, double click the side button then hold the display up to the payment terminal to pay. On iPhone, double click then authenticate with Face ID or hold near the reader. It’s very quick once set up.

Security of Apple Pay

Apple Pay utilizes secure token encryption and Touch ID or Face ID verification to protect payment security. Here are some key security features:

  • Payment tokens – Cards are assigned a unique Device Account Number so your actual card details are never shared.
  • Dynamic security code – A one-time CVV code is generated with each transaction.
  • Encrypted chip – Apple devices have a dedicated encrypted chip to securely store payment information.
  • Biometric ID – Touch ID or Face ID verification adds another layer of security before payments.

Merchants never actually receive your card details when you pay with Apple Pay. And if your iPhone or Apple Watch is lost or stolen, you can use Find My iPhone to disable Apple Pay or wipe your device.

Apple Pay transaction limits

Apple Pay transactions have standardized limits set by the payment networks. Commonly used limits include:

  • Contactless payment limit – Up to $100 per transaction without requiring signature.
  • Total spending limit – Varies based on bank but commonly $200.
  • Purchase location limit – Payment network rules restrict usage to brick-and-mortar retail locations.

Different banks that issue Apple Pay cards may set their own limits on transaction amount, number of purchases, and total spending before requiring re-authentication. This provides an additional security safeguard against fraudulent usage of Apple Pay.

Using rewards programs and merchant apps

Apple Pay works with many merchant reward programs and apps. For example:

  • Walgreens Balance Rewards – Link your Balance Rewards account to earn points.
  • Target Red Card – Get 5% off purchases when using your Target debit or credit card with Apple Pay.
  • Panera Bread – Sign in to your Panera account to apply saved food favorites using Apple Pay.
  • My Dunkin’ – Link your DD card and pay with your phone while earning rewards.

Check with your favorite retailer, restaurant, and apps to see if they integrate with Apple Pay for a seamless customer experience.

Using Apple Pay at gas stations

Paying for gas with Apple Pay requires a few extra steps compared to in-store payments:

  1. Insert nozzle and select grade as usual.
  2. On the payment terminal, choose Apple Pay as the payment method.
  3. Double click iPhone side button – no need to hold near reader.
  4. Enter cents amount for total gas purchase.
  5. Authenticate with Face/Touch ID.
  6. Terminal will provide instructions to begin fueling.
  7. Payment will finalize once nozzle is replaced.

This allows the final transaction amount to match the exact purchase value. Apple Pay ensures security throughout the fuel pumping process. The steps are very similar when using Apple Pay for EV charging as well.

Using Apple Pay for transit and tap-to-pay

In locations like New York, Chicago, Portland, and other cities with transit systems supporting mobile wallets, you can pay for bus, subway, and train fares right from your iPhone or Apple Watch. Simply double click then hold near the reader to pay and go. Some things to note:

  • No need to wake your device first before tapping.
  • Validate with Face/Touch ID after tapping if required.
  • See transit card balances, fares, and trip history right in Apple Wallet.

Any transit system or reader requiring a contactless or mobile payment should work seamlessly with Apple Pay. Just look for the Apple Pay support symbols as you commute.

Using Apple Pay on your Mac

With macOS Ventura and iOS 16, you can now configure your iPhone to share Apple Pay and Wallet information with your Mac. This allows you to make Apple Pay transactions right from your Mac for online and in-app purchases.

To set up Apple Pay on Mac:

  1. Make sure your Mac is running macOS Ventura or newer.
  2. On your iPhone with iOS 16, enable Wallet and Apple Pay sharing via the Wallet & Apple Pay menu in Settings.
  3. On your Mac, open System Preferences then Wallet & Apple Pay to complete setup.
  4. Enter security code from your iPhone when prompted.
  5. Card information and recent transactions will sync across devices.

Now you can securely pay on apps, websites, and more directly on your Mac. Your payment cards never sync directly. Only encrypted tokens provide access temporarily as needed.

Apple Pay supermarkets, travel, entertainment, and more

You’ll find Apple Pay accepted at all types of businesses and locations. Here are some top places to use Apple Pay while shopping, commuting, dining, and more:


  • Whole Foods
  • Safeway
  • Publix
  • Wegmans
  • Harris Teeter


  • Delta Air Lines
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines


  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Olive Garden
  • Outback Steakhouse


  • AMC Theatres
  • Fandango
  • StubHub
  • Theme parks

As you can see, Apple Pay works with all kinds of everyday transactions. It’s widely supported for convenience and security.

Apple Pay: Conclusion

Apple Pay makes in-store and in-app payments quick, easy, and secure. With iPhone and Apple Watch, you can pay at thousands of retailers worldwide. Wherever you see the contactless/mobile wallet symbols, Apple Pay should work.

While a few major holdouts like Costco and Trader Joe’s don’t take contactless payments yet, adoption is growing rapidly. And payment networks like Visa, Mastercard, and Amex are actively expanding Apple Pay support. So you can expect its acceptance to become nearly universal in the future.

For now, keep an eye out for Apple Pay logos when shopping or dining out. Most card terminals should support it. And don’t be afraid to ask – stores are usually happy to show how easy and convenient Apple Pay can be.

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