I remember when Apple Wallet used to be known as Passbook. When the concept of a digital wallet was brand-new to the market and there weren’t a lot of real life situations where you could actually test it out.
These days, paying with your phone has caught on, thanks to not just Apple Pay but Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well. But digital payments aren’t the only thing you can use your Apple Wallet for, so in advance of the travel season, I thought I’d count the ways I use my Apple Wallet so you might take advantage of some little-known features.
1. Credit & Debit Card Payments
OK so this is obvious number one use. Load your Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card into your phone, then use it at any physical or online store that accepts Apple Pay. Debit cards and pre-paid cards work too.
IRL, simply hover your iPhone near the contactless card reader in store and an image of your card will appear on the screen. From there, you’ll be prompted to place your finger on your Touch ID sensor (or oblige as it asks for a Face ID) for a quick confirmation, and that’s it. Sale = made. (When shopping online, you’ll see an option to buy with Apple Pay, too.)
The speed when, say, you’ve been waiting in line to ring up a purchase, is unparalleled, and it’s nice to know that the salesperson doesn’t have access to your credit card numbers— the whole process is encrypted, a nice feature.
2. Apple Cash
Apple Cash is, according to Apple, “like having a pre-paid debit card in your phone.” It’s meant to be used as a peer-to-peer payment service— like when you want to send your friend a couple bucks for covering your breakfast sandwich. Which sort of sounds like Venmo, except the primary difference is that instead of just pulling from your bank account for each transaction, Apple Cash wants you to “load your card” with money first. That works both ways— if you receive cash, it will sit in your Apple Cash card until you manually transfer it into your linked bank account. The perk here is that you can do all this through iMessage… so if you know how to send a text, you can send money, which is super-convenient.
Sadly, Apple isn’t really on it’s game with these naming conventions… because figuring out the difference between Apple Card (Apple’s new credit card), Apple Pay (the digital payment system that lets you buy things with your phone) and Apple Cash can get confusing, fast. Hopefully this clears it up.
Apple Wallet helps me keep track of things like boarding passes for when I have a flight to catch, and it will even keep me apprised of up-to-the-minute gate changes, so I never have to search for that info at the last minute or when I’m running late in the terminal security line. It also uses my iPhone’s GPS to identify when I’m actually at the airport so that the info is all called up and ready to access. When I get to my hotel, I can store my loyalty card in Apple Wallet so it’s easy for them to scan and identify me as a VIP. Amtrak train tickets can be stored, too.
4. Event Tickets
Apple Wallet also keeps track of e-tickets for just about any concert or event, through third party apps like Eventbrite, Fandango, Live Nation, or Ticketmaster. It’s so much easier than scrolling through Gmail to locate the info you need while standing beside an impatient ticket checker, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting paper tickets at home.
5. Loyalty & Gift Cards
Apple Wallet also makes it super simple to keep track of things like loyalty cards and gift cards—something all of us tend to lose or misplace. This means that you can add your rewards card for Sephora (I’m talking to you, Beauty Insiders!) or a Starbucks gift card, so you can use it up one latte at a time. The list is long—and getting longer—of those that use Apple Pay gift cards. But once you have your cards synced up with Apple Wallet, not only do you always have them in your pocket (er, Wallet), it regularly updates the balance so you always know where you stand in terms of rewards or how much you have left to spend.
Whether you want to know the latest Target deals or Walgreens coupons, you can get great coupons and deal notifications from cards in your Apple Wallet. And because your phone knows where you are, it will deliver those deals as soon as you walk into the store. Spooky? A bit. Convenient? Yep.
Apple Wallet works with certain universities so that students have the option to add their student ID. (Currently, more than 100,000 students nationwide have this option. You can find a current list of participating universities here.)
To browse Apple Wallet compatible apps for all the above, launch your Apple Wallet, then scroll to the bottom and tap “Edit Passes” then scroll to the bottom again and tap “Find Apps for Wallet”.