As part of its digital services, Apple offers various payment methods that you can use in its own store, as well as other online retailers and third-party walk-in stores. It can be difficult to sort out which method applies where. Here is the overview to find out where to go and what to change as needed.
Apple’s payment types
Apple has many different Apple-branded services, payment methods and gift cards. It’s a shockingly long list, and what Apple offers varies from country to country where you receive bills or have a bank account.
Apple Pay. Apple Pay allows you to add credit and debit cards for contactless payment at retail locations and many types of online payment. You need a device with Touch ID or Face ID to add cards, and can sync them securely via iCloud between your devices. A Mac without a T2 security chip can rely on a mobile device also using Apple Pay. (Apple has a list of countries where Apple Pay is available.)
Apple cards. The Apple-branded Mastercard credit card works like any other payment card, but it is managed entirely from the Wallet app in iOS or iPadOS.
Apple Cash. Apple Cash is a person-to-person payment system as well as a way to receive cash discounts from an Apple card. It’s technically a Discover network debit card behind the scenes. You can use Apple Cash to pay for some types of Apple goods. It is only available in the United States
Apple account. This is not a card, but it is a balance you can use on any digital purchase. It appears in several places, including all Apple digital store windows.
Apple Store gift card. You can purchase or receive gift credit on an Apple Store gift card, which can be redeemed at an Apple Store, whether in person or for online purchase – but not for digital goods. If you trade in Apple products for cash, Apple will provide it in the form of one of these cards. The balance is not displayed digitally anywhere, but in your wallet, as it is kept and available for personal use or via the Apple Store app.
App Store and iTunes gift cards. For app, media and subscription purchases, including iCloud storage, this card may have a balance. After redemption, the balance will be added and displayed in all your stores – App Store, iTunes, Music and Books – as part of your Apple account balance.
Apple gift card. If you thought that was it, I’m so sorry. It is not. Only in the United States did Apple introduce the Apple Gift Card in July 2020. It is a universal gift card that can be used to purchase stores and digital. It can be replenished with extra credit so you can give gifts and add to it or receive gifts people can add. Once your balance is transferred to your Apple Digital Purchase Account Balance, it can no longer be used for retail.
Where you can find and change payment methods
These are all Apple ways to store and offer payment, but where can you find them? Many places, it turns out.
Apple shares retail and iCloud storage in one pile, and the App Store and media purchases (including in-app purchases and in-app subscriptions) in another. It’s useful for those of us with two Apple IDs for older or other reasons, or who use one personal account for iCloud and another for personal and family sharing purposes.
(Confusingly, subscriptions to Apple Music, News +, TV +, and other services can be made with one of these kinds of Apple ID associations. If you always keep two Apple IDs strictly separate for iCloud and digital purchases, you will not go wrong with that problem, however.)
To summarize the following, here are the locations for all payment method administration:
In iOS and iPadOS you can use Settings> Wallet and Apple Pay, Wallet apps, Settings> account name> Payment and shipping, and Settings> Account Name> Media & Purchase.
In macOS, you trust the Apple ID settings pane Payment & Shipping tab (Catalina and later) or the iCloud settings pane. Account Details> Payment tab (Mojave and earlier), and the App Store, iTunes, Books, Music and TV apps.
On the Apple ID website, log in to your account and see the Payment and Shipping area.
Here is a more detailed look at each of these payment locations:
iOS / iPadOS Settings> Wallet and Apple Pay. Apple allows you to manage all the cards you have stored with Apple Pay, as well as view Apple Cash and Apple Card balances, and retrieve specific information about both of these types of accounts. You can also select a card you want to use for transit in which countries support Express Transit – where you can pay without Face ID, Touch ID or password – and set different default settings.
Wallet app. In iOS and iPadOS, the Wallet app reveals stored value on Apple Store cards, as well as transaction details and other information about the Apple Cash balance, Apple card balance and other credit and debit cards. You can not make changes here.
iOS / iPadOS iCloud-related payments. Go to iOS or iPadOS Settings> account name> Payment and shipping to manage details related to iCloud-related payments. Your Apple Cash balance is displayed here and an Apple card if available. You can also add more payment methods. Balances and a shipping address here are used for Apple retail purchases, but also for iCloud storage fees (if any) and for subscriptions linked to your iCloud account.
In macOS Catalina and later, find this in the Apple ID preferences panel’s Apple ID and click on Payment and Shipping. In Mojave and earlier, go to the iCloud settings pane, click Account Details and click Payment. macOS shows only the primary payment method and balance of Apple Cash (positive) and Apple Card (negative) accounts. You can also see this information on the Apple ID website when you sign in with your Apple ID and look under Payment and Shipping.
However, you can not make changes other than the shipping address and country of purchase in macOS or the Apple ID website. Instead, you need to use the App Store or another Apple digital store app – problematic if you have two Apple IDs, as mentioned above. If so, iOS and iPadOS are the only way to manage iCloud-related payment.
App Store and media payments. Apple has a separate area in iOS and iPadOS for purchasing methods associated with digital purchases. Go to Settings> Account name> Media & Purchases> Manage payments to see an almost identical view as the Payment and Shipping tab above. But note that it shows an Apple account balance, not Apple Cash (if available).
In macOS, you can use the App Store, iTunes, Books, Music or TV apps to change digital related purchasing methods. Depending on the app, select Account> View my account or Store> View My Account and click View Information. The Apple ID Summary area displays payment information and allows you to manage payment methods.
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