How to Set Up and Use Apple Pay Cash on Your iPhone

The latest feature to hit iOS is Apple Pay Cash, which gives iPhone users a quick and easy way to send money to one another (as well as a way to spend money at stores without using a credit or debit card). Here’s how to set it up.

Unfortunately, Apple Pay Cash isn’t available for everyone, and there are a few stipulations that you have to meet:

  • It’s currently only available for users in the United States.
  • You must be 18 years old or older.
  • Your iPhone needs to be updated to at least iOS 11.2.
  • Two-factor authentication must be enabled for your Apple ID account.

If all of those describe you, then read on.

Setting Up Apple Pay Cash

To set up Apple Pay Cash, open the Wallet app and select the Apple Pay Cash card at the top.

Tap on “Set Up Apple Pay Cash”.

Hit “Continue”.

Accept the Terms and Conditions by tapping “Agree” down in the bottom-right corner.

Give it a few moments to set up. You’ll then be asked to link a debit card with Apple Pay Cash. This isn’t mandatory, but it is required if you want to add funds to your Apple Pay Cash balance (the only other way is for people to send you money through Apple Pay Cash).

During the setup process, you might be asked to verify your identity, which can include a combination of entering in your address, date of birth, social security number, or possibly even taking a photo of your drivers license. I’ve read that some users didn’t have to verify their identity at all, while others have said they’ve only had to enter in a couple of these details—your mileage may vary.

Once you’ve completed this step, Apple Pay Cash is all set up! Now to the fun part.

Sending Money to Friends & Family with Apple Pay Cash

Apple Pay Cash uses iMessage to send money to other users. So open up the Messages app and tap on a conversation thread of the person you want to send money to. Then tap on the Apple Pay Cash iMessage app at the bottom.

If the recipient doesn’t have an iOS device or doesn’t meet the above requirements, you’ll get a message that says they cannot receive payments using Apple Pay.

If they can accept Apple Pay Cash payments, you’ll see a dollar amount that you can change using the “+” and “-” buttons or pull up the keypad to enter in a custom amount. When you’re ready to send the money, tap on “Pay”.

You can then type in a quick note to accompany the payment and hit send.

You’ll then be prompted to scan your fingerprint using Touch ID (or Face ID for iPhone X users). By default, Apple Pay Cash will use your Apple Pay Cash balance first, if you have one. If not, it will use the debit card you linked to during the setup process. If you didn’t link a debit card, it will use your credit card that you have set up with Apple Pay. Keep in mind that using a credit card is subject to a 3% fee when sending money through Apple Pay Cash.

Once the payment has been sent to the recipient, it will be marked as “Pending” until it is accepted by the recipient. During this time, you can cancel the payment, but once it has been accepted, there’s no turning back.

To cancel a pending payment, tap on it on the iMessage conversation and hit “Cancel Payment” on the next screen.

You can also request money from friends and family by selecting a dollar amount and hitting “Request” instead of “Pay”, and it works sort of like an invoice. Furthermore, any money that gets sent to you will be added to your Apple Pay Cash balance.

Adding Funds to Your Apple Pay Cash Balance

To add money to your Apple Pay Cash balance, you can either wait for people to send you money through the service, or add funds yourself using a debit card. If you didn’t link a debit card with Apple Pay Cash during the setup process, you’ll need to do it now if you want to add money to your balance—unfortunately, you can’t use a credit card.

To get started, open up the Settings app, scroll down, and tap on “Wallet & Apple Pay”.

Tap on your Apple Pay Cash card.

Tap on “Add Money”.

If you don’t have a debit card linked to Apple Pay Cash, you’ll get a pop-up that says “Unable to Add Money”, and you’ll tap on “Add Card” to link a debit card. The process is identical for adding any other credit card to Apple Pay.

In any case, once you’re all set there and you tapped on “Add Money”, enter in an amount that you want to add to your balance. Keep in mind that the minimum is $10. Hit “Add” in the top-right corner.

Use Touch ID (or Face ID on the iPhone X) to confirm the transaction.

That’s all there is to it! Your new balance will update immediately and you can begin spending it right away.

Transferring Funds to Your Bank Account

If you receive money through Apple Pay Cash, you can spend that balance anywhere Apple Pay is accepted. But if you don’t plan to spend it from there, you can instead transfer that money to your bank account.

Open up the Settings app, scroll down, and tap on “Wallet & Apple Pay”.

Tap on your Apple Pay Cash card.

Select “Transfer to Bank”.

You’ll need to add your bank account details first, so tap on “Add Bank Account”.

Enter in your bank’s routing number, along with your account number. Then hit “Next” in the top-right corner.

Confirm these details by entering them in again. Then hit “Next”.

Give it a few moments to add your bank account. After that, enter in the amount that you want to transfer to your account and then hit “Transfer” in the top-right corner—there is no minimum for this.

It will take a couple of business days for the money to transfer, so be sure you give yourself a buffer ahead of time if you need that money as soon as possible.

What Can You Do with Your Apple Pay Cash Balance?

Again, while you can transfer your Apple Pay Cash balance to your bank account, you can also spend it straight from your iPhone. You can use that money to send to other people through iMessage, just like we showed you above, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You can also use your Apple Pay Cash balance to pay for goods or services anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted. So if a friend sends you $20 through Apple Pay Cash, you can turn around and spend that money at Walgreens using Apple Pay as your payment method. This is perhaps the big kicker with Apple Pay Cash—it finally gives iPhone users a way to use Apple Pay without necessarily linking a debit or credit card, just as long as they receive money from other people through the Apple Pay Cash service.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.