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Does Apple Pay have a limit when accepting payments?

Apple Pay has become one of the most preferred payment systems for contactless payments in today’s digital world. 

First introduced in 2014, the digital wallet transforms how users store, use, and manage contactless payments via iOS devices, such as iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and MacBooks. 

Apple Pay offers both businesses and consumers convenience, security, speed, and reliability.

But merchants must acknowledge a pressing question before accepting Apple Pay: Does Apple Pay have a limit?

In the following sections, we answer this question and offer more information on:

  • What is Apple Pay, and how does it work?
  • What’s the transaction limit for Apple Pay?
  • What are some of the scenarios in which Apple Pay may be declined?
  • What can you do if your Apple Pay payment is declined?

Here’s everything you need to know.

An overview of Apple Pay

Before we discuss the details to answer the question, “Does Apple Pay have a limit?” it’s essential to cover the basics.

Apple Pay is a digital wallet and mobile payment solution created by Apple Inc. that enables contactless payments without using a plastic card. 

This wallet app allows users to make secure purchases in stores, apps, and websites. Users can also send and receive money from friends and family in some countries. They can also store their loyalty cards, manage cards used for payments, and redeem rewards. 

Users can even pay for transport in London via Apple Pay. All they have to do is position their iPhone or Apple Watch over the yellow card reader on TFL services.

How does Apple Pay work?

Here’s a brief overview of how Apple Pay works. 

To use Apple Pay, users must have an activated device passcode as a secure element. The available options include Face ID or Touch ID.

If you see the Apple Pay logo when shopping in-store, you can use this payment method. Simply double-click the side button of your phone and go through the Face ID or Touch ID verification. 

Hold the phone near the payment terminal until a checkmark appears and you feel a vibration from the phone. If you’re shopping online or in-app, select Apple Pay when you reach the checkout page

Some of Apple Pay’s secure features include creating a unique Device Account Number when operating with cards rather than sharing the actual card details with merchants. 

The Device Account Number undergoes encryption and is stored in the Secure Element (a dedicated chip in your iPhone or Apple Watch) for security purposes. Once the transaction is started, the only thing that’s passed to the retailer is the token instead of the card details.

Setting up Apple Pay

Apple Pay can be used via your iPhone, iPad (including iPad Pro, 12-9 inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3), Apple Watch, or MacBook (for Mac models like the MacBook Pro). 

You’ll need to download the Apple Wallet app and set up Apple Pay to use Apple Pay. 

On an iPhone, open Wallet. On an iPad, visit Settings and tap Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap Add Credit or Debit Card or the plus sign in the upper right corner and select Continue. Via the iPad camera, you can capture the data on your payment card and ensure that it’s securely stored in your app. 

Next, manually provide any additional information, like the card’s security code.

You’ll need to undergo verification with your bank. 

For Apple Watches, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Go to the My Watch tab and scroll down to Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap Add Card and go through the verification process. 

Throughout the setup process, you’ll need to choose a default payment card for your transactions. If you want to change it, go to Settings on your iPhone, find the Wallet & Apple Pay section, and browse through the available options under Transaction Defaults. 

Find the Default Card section and select the card you want to prioritise over others. 

For Mac, make sure that your Mac model is compatible with Apple Pay. Go to System Preferences, choose Wallet & Apple Pay, and select Add Card.

What is the transaction limit when accepting Apple Pay payments?

What is the transaction limit when accepting Apple Pay payments?

Before October 2023, the transaction limit for accepting Apple Pay in the UK was £45. For security reasons, this spending limit for contactless payments was increased to £100.

Every merchant can apply the limit individually based on their strategy and payment approach. In this case, the limit relates to contactless payments made via NFC-activated cards without a security PIN.

Although Apple Pay is usually considered a substitute for contactless card payments, some registers put it in the same category, making the limit applicable. 

Paying with an NFC card eliminates the need for security verifications, so spending large amounts using this method creates safety concerns. However, transaction amounts in the range of £100 are considered unattractive for thieves. 

Overall, merchants can choose whether they set this limit for Apple Pay based on their target groups, products or services sold, security measures in place, and other factors. 

When is Apple Pay declined?

When consumers use Apple Pay when paying, regardless of whether it’s via an iPhone or Apple watch (or other Apple devices), there is a chance that the Apple Pay transaction will be declined. 

There are several explanations as to why this situation may be occurring.

First, the connection between your Apple watch or phone and the contactless payments terminal may be poor. Hold the device on the terminal until you see a notification that the payment has been successful to ensure that the transaction is processed when using Apple Pay.

Once the payment is accepted, you’ll hear a beeping sound, and a green check will appear on your phone or Apple Watch display.

Another reason for a declined payment could be that the credit or debit card you’ve added to your mobile wallet, Apple Pay, is temporarily locked. 

Alternatively, the case may be that the default card (in the case of debit cards) has insufficient funds.

In this situation, you may need to:

  • Remove card – delete the card information and add a different card (a replacement card) to your account;
  • Add a card – next, add a new card and provide the essential card details. Ensure that the selected credit or debit card has enough funds for the transaction and is activated for use. 

On the other hand, deactivated transactions may result from entering a wrong PIN at the terminal. Sometimes, when using a debit card to pay via Apple Pay, you may still be required to provide a PIN.  

The last reason for seeing declined transactions could be that the payment terminal does not support contactless payments or Apple Pay.

What should you do if a payment cannot be successfully completed with Apple Pay?

If you’ve noticed that some of your card payments with Apple Pay have not been successful, here are a few ways to troubleshoot your iPhone.

The first thing to try is to restart your phone. This might seem like a cliche approach, but it’s usually very efficient. Once you’ve restarted your phone, check to see if you’re still receiving a notification that the payments have not been completed.

If this method doesn’t work, check whether you have the latest version of iOS installed on your phone. 

To do so, log into your phone, click on Settings, choose General, and then Software Update. In this section of your phone, you can analyse whether any updates remain to be installed on the device. 

Alternatively, check if your Face ID or Touch ID are causing problems. Deactivate these services from your phone and reinitiate the Apple Pay payment. Go to your Settings, and find Touch ID & Passcode (or Face ID and Passcode), where you can switch them off. 

Restart your phone again and check whether you can complete the purchase smoothly. 

You can also consider the following:

  • Checking your connection and VPNs;
  • Contacting Apple Support;
  • Trying a different payment method via Apple Pay.
Is there any difference between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet

Is there any difference between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet 

While Apple Pay and Apple Wallet are similar solutions that often overlap and complement each other, they are fundamentally two separate products. 

The Apple Wallet app stores your credit and debit cards, making it convenient to use them with Apple Pay whenever you need to make a purchase in-store, in-app, or on a website. 

Via Apple Wallet, users can digitally store boarding passes, coupons, store cards, loyalty cards, and more. On the other hand, Apple Pay empowers users to make transactions through their Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.


In summary, while some transaction limits apply when accepting Apple Pay, they may not apply to all merchants. 

Overall, we hope that this article will illuminate the use of Apple Pay for both businesses and users. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Apple Pay is available to businesses and users in more than 75 countries, including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and a range of others.

The transaction limit for Apple Pay varies depending on the policies of the individual merchant and the payment processor they use.

The devices that support Apple Pay include iPhones, some iPad models, some MacBook models, and Apple Watches.

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