Apple Pay launches in Australia: what you need to know

By Chris C., November 19 2015
Apple Pay launches in Australia: what you need to know

Australian iPhones and Apple Watches can now virtually replace physical American Express credit cards following the launch of Apple Pay in partnership with American Express Australia.

It’s as simple as linking your compatible iPhone or Apple Watch with your American Express-issued card and hovering that phone or watch – rather than your traditional credit card – over the contactless card reader when making payments in-store.

Here’s what you need to know about Apple Pay including who can use it, how to set it up and how to make payments in-store.

Apple Pay: what you’ll need

At launch, Apple Pay can only be used by customers with an American Express card issued directly by American Express Australia, such as the Platinum Charge Card, the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card and the new and fee-free Essential credit card.

American Express cards issued by other banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac can’t be linked to Apple Pay at this stage, nor can any Australian Visa, MasterCard or Diners Club cards.

Paired with an American Express-issued card needs to be a 2014- or 2015-model iPhone including the 6s, 6s Plus, 6 and 6 Plus running iOS 9 or later to make in-store payments, or an Apple Watch paired to the same.

These devices also support Apple Pay payments within compatible apps such as Uber, while the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Mini 4 also support in-app payments, but not in-store contactless payments.

Apple Pay: setting it up

Begin by opening the ‘Wallet’ app on your iPhone (formerly Passbook), the Watch app for Apple Watch users (then My Watch > Wallet & Apple Pay) or navigate to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay on your iPad, and click ‘add credit or debit card’ or tap the + button in the top right corner.

Enter your American Express card details or use the iPhone’s camera to capture them electronically, and in moments you’re all set up:

You can add up to eight credit cards to your Apple Pay account, so if you use different cards for business and leisure or even for specific merchants such as restaurants and supermarkets, you can add them all in and choose when it’s time to pay, with one also nominated as your ‘default’.

Apple Pay: making a payment in-store

When shopping with a merchant that accepts American Express contactless transactions, simply leave your phone locked, place your thumb on the phone’s Touch ID reader and hover it over the contactless terminal to make your payment from your default card.

To pay from a different card instead, double click the home button when the phone is locked and you’ll go straight to the Wallet app, where you can select your card before making your payment.

For Apple Watch users, double click the side button to activate Apple Pay, then either scroll left or right to select your payment card or hold your wrist straight over the merchant’s contactless terminal to pay from your default account.

Apple Pay can be used wherever American Express contactless payments are accepted including at major chains like Woolworths, Coles, Officeworks, Myer, David Jones, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Event Cinemas, but at many smaller retailers too.

However, Apple Pay users may experience difficulties at merchants with older-style contactless EFTPOS terminals such as at BP and Haigh’s Chocolates which accept AMEX but don’t yet support AMEX contactless payments.

Until Apple Pay and AMEX contactless work universally at all merchants that accept the card, we’d recommend keeping your physical American Express credit card with you to use as a backup where needed, and with merchants whose terminals don’t sport a contactless credit card reader.

Also read: Australia, NZ move towards document-free travel

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Gold

04 Jul 2014

Total posts 130

I've only got a bank issued AMEX, and have been waiting for Apple Pay to launch since it was announced overseas...Hopefully the other banks will get onboard soon...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 148

Used it today. Worked great at Maccas. David Jones Amex cards, while originally said wasn't supported, works signing up, will try soon at a Woollies or Coles.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2013

Total posts 9

i used it twice today at Woolies. First on my iPhone and then went back later and tried it on my watch. The watch experience is just magic and so seamless. I like that you dont even need to have your phone with you to use the watch by itself.

Been waiting for Apple Pay since it launched last year, definitely worth it.

Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 263

I have my Amex issued Amex, got the details in my iPhone Wallet and will have to test out this week! Now.... to find a merchant who has the tech and accepts AMEX :D But I do love my Amex

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 475


I believe eWay merchants (along with the big grocery cartels) are the only ones offering it at the moment. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Oct 2014

Total posts 18

All current generation ANZ EFTPOS terminals support AMEX contactless.  If the retailer has any CBA terminal - often it doesn't accept AMEX contactless.  Plus bearing in mind that of course many retailers refuse to accept AMEX at all...

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 193

CBA's new iPad-like terminal takes contactless Amex.

Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 263

PERFECT! I have seen terminals with the Amex and ANZ logos on them so will have to suss them out! Coles and Farmer Jacks.

VA Platinum

21 Nov 2013

Total posts 20

I set it up in about 5 minutes this morning, as my AMEX was already attached to me itunes account all it took was an SMS confirmation and it was good to go!

Used at Coles and Vintage Cellars no problem at all. It's not that much handier than tapping a credit card, but once we can get all of the cards loaded in will make a big difference.

The future is here!

Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 263

Yup, works at Coles and Farmer Jacks if I haven't mentioned already. BP seem to have the old style machines with PayWave/PayPass.... ah well..

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