How to use Apple Pay Cash to send money to friends

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Apple Pay Cash
Learn how to use Apple Pay Cash in just one minute.
Photo: Apple

Apple Pay Cash lets people send money to each other using iMessage. You can send up to $3,000 — certainly enough to cover your share of lunch — and the transaction is free if you use a debit card registered in your Apple Wallet.

All you need is to have a card in Apple Pay, and be running iOS 11.2 or newer, and you’re good to go. Here’s how to use it.

Can I use Apple Pay Cash?

Apple Pay Cash brings the convenience of Apple Pay to personal transactions. But not everyone can use it. To send somebody money with Apple Pay Cash, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a credit or debit card registered in your Apple Wallet
  • Be in the United States
  • Have two-factor authentication activated on your Apple ID
  • Use an iPhone 6 or newer

Both you and the receiver must be running iOS 11.2 or later. (iOS 11.2 is currently in beta, so perhaps it’s better to wait for the official launch.)

If you meet all these requirements, then you can make Apple Pay Cash payments using iMessage, or even Siri.

Make Apple Pay Cash payments with iMessage

If you meet the above requirements, a new app will show up in the iMessage Dock. Just tap on it when in a conversation thread, then tap the plus and minus buttons to set the amount you want to send (you can also type the number on the keyboard). Then tap pay, and a preview of the payment appears in the message thread, ready to be sent. Tap send to send it, and authenticate with Touch ID or Face ID.

That’s it! It’s as easy as sending a photo or an emoji. When the recipient accepts your payment, you will receive a notification.

You can also request money in the same way, and the other party can approve and make the payment from inside the Messages app. Apple Pay Cash only works in one-to-one message threads, not in group conversations. Received money is added to your new Apple Pay Cash card, and can be used for payments (even in stores), or transferred out to a bank account, just like any other card in your wallet.

Apple Pay Cash identity verification

Once you hit $500 in Apple Pay Cash transactions, you must verify your identity. To do so, you need to take a picture of your driver’s license or official state ID card, and provide some personal information (Social Security number and so on).

Make Apple Pay Cash payments with Siri

You can also make Apple Pay Cash payments with Siri. Just invoke Siri in the usual way, then say something like, “Send $1 to Leander.” Your device might prompt you to choose a payment service if you have others installed (like PayPal).

Siri will compose an iMessage for you, with your requested amount added. When you send the message, you will need to authenticate yourself with Face ID or Touch ID.

Other ways to use Apple Pay Cash payments

You can also initiate an Apple Pay Cash payment from the Contacts app, or the Phone app, or Spotlight. Just use any of these methods to access a person’s contact details, and you’ll see the new dollar-sign-in-a-circle Apple Pay symbol alongside the usual icons for sending a message or making a FaceTime/Phone call.

Apple Pay Cash is going to be huge

While Apple Pay is already a great way to pay, it’s only an alternative to pulling out a credit card. Apple Pay Cash, on the other hand, has no easy alternative. If you want to pay a friend some money, or even pay an invoice to a freelancer, you can’t use a credit card. You must use cash. (Technically you could use PayPal, but that’s too clunky.)

With Apple Pay Cash, you can suddenly make tiny person-to-person transactions without cash, something that hasn’t been feasible before. I can also see this getting “hacked” so you can pay folks at market stalls (perhaps an AirDrop version will be added just for this). I think Apple Pay Cash is going to be absolutely huge, and will cause a lot of folks to consider switching from Android, too.

  •  Chris 

    Looking forward to this, Apple Pay is already my primary means of payment.

  • herbaled

    How does the recipient actually receive the “cash”?

  • Michael W

    This needs to be updated as iOS 11.2 has been released