Mobile payments

Apple Pay in Hong Kong: everything you need to know

Contactless payments system was rolled out on Wednesday in Hong Kong to eligible cardholders of American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 July, 2016, 11:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 8:23am

For Apple device users in Hong Kong, expect a smooth and easy experience when using Apple Pay for the first time at your local convenience store or neighbourhood coffee shop that supports the service.

There are about 10,000 merchant locations in the city that have contactless point-of-sale terminals, which are ready to accept payments from Apple Pay users with either debit or credit cards from American Express, Visa or MasterCard.

The initial batch of Apple Pay participating banks in Hong Kong — American Express, Bank of China, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank — cover an estimated 70 per cent of cardholders in the city, according to Apple. Bank of East Asia will soon join this group.

The essential things you need to get started are a supported bank card and an iPhone with Touch ID that has the latest version of Apple’s iOS software.

The models with that biometric sensor include the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 , iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6s Plus.

How do I add a card?

Go to the Wallet app on your iPhone and tap Add Credit or Debit Card. Wallet is one of the default apps on your iPhone with updated iOS.

Tap Next and follow the steps to add a new card. In this process, your bank will verify your card information to determine if you can add that card.

You can also use the front camera of your iPhone to scan the details of your card. Your bank will ask you for more information, if needed.

After your bank verifies your card, tap Next. You can then start using Apple Pay.

How many cards can I add?

You can add up to eight cards in a device and this same card can be set up for use in nine devices, including your Apple Watch with the latest WatchOS as well as iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro with updated iOS.

The first card that you added will become your default card. Payment will be made from this card unless another card is selected.

How do I change a card?

You can change your default card anytime by going to your iPhone’s Settings, followed by Wallet then Apple Pay. You can also remove your card anytime by going to that same process: Settings followed by Wallet and Apple Pay.

Where can I make payments with Apple Pay?

You can use Apple Pay in any store equipped with Visa PayPass, MasterCard or American Express contactless payment terminals.

Apple Pay uses so-called near-field communications technology built into iPhones and the Apple Watch to allow for contactless payment in stores.

How do I make a purchase?

When paying in stores, there is no need to wake your iPhone or open an app. Simply hold the iPhone near the contactless terminal with your finger on the Touch ID.

You’ll see the check mark sign on the display, along with a subtle vibration and beep, that lets you know the transaction was completed.

If you prefer to use a different card, you can swipe the display to select that card after you hold the iPhone near to the contactless terminal.

On Apple Watch, double-press the side button below the digital crown, select the card you would like to pay with and hold the display of the device up to the contactless reader. A gentle tap and beep from your device will confirm that payment was made.

How do I pay within apps?

You can use either your iPhone or iPad to pay within apps, which should show the Buy with Apple Pay button or Apple Pay as a payment method.

Tap that button and then check your billing, shipping and contact information. If you need to enter those three information, Apple Pay will store that information on the device so there is no need to enter it again.

Place your finger on the Touch ID sensor and wait for the Done and checkmark on the screen to confirm payment was completed.

Is it safe?

Apple Pay protects your credit card information and identity since these are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment. This service is much safer than handing over your credit card to pay for a meal at a restaurant.

Instead of using the actual credit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element chip, which is built inside the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

The Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process any payment made with Apple Pay.

Every payment on the iPhone or iPad requires Touch ID or a passcode. On Apple Watch, the device must first be unlocked by the user to make a payment from this device.

Are there other security measures to remember?

To further protect your card, keep your device under your personal control at all times. Do not let others unlock your device, and do not store anyone else’s fingerprint or biometric credentials in the device, or else they might be able to make unauthorised transactions.

How can I check my purchases with Apple Pay?

When you view your card in the Wallet app, you will find the last transaction for each card. You might also see the last 10 transactions for your cards.

Depending on your bank, you might see only transactions made from your device. Or you might see all transactions made from your credit or debit card account, including all Apple Pay devices and your plastic card.

Some banks provide only initial authorisation amounts to Wallet, which might be different from the final transaction amount. Depending on your bank, you might see different transaction amounts from locations such as restaurants, petrol service stations or hotels.

Always refer to the credit or debit card statement from your bank for final transaction details. If a transaction was declined, contact your bank or card issuer for help.

What can I do if lose my device?

It may be distressing if you lose the iPhone with Apple Pay activated, but it is unlikely that whoever picks up the lost device has the exact copy of your fingerprints.

You can disable Apple Pay by using the Find My iPhone app installed in the other iOS device you are using, or log in to your iCloud account on and open Find My iPhone there.

Select the iPhone or other device you lost to track it and then activate Lost Mode to remotely disable the information it contains. Find My iPhone also provides steps to follow to erase all the information in the lost or stolen device.

What are some incentives now on offer to use Apple Pay?

American Express cardholders can exclusively use Apple Pay in the Cathay Pacific mobile app during the launch phase of the service.

HSBC cardholders can get an extra HK$10 RewardCash offer when conducting a single transaction worth HK$30 or above three separate times via Apple Pay at any participating merchant.