As part of its digital services, Apple offers different 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 determine which method applies where. Here’s the rundown to help you figure out where to go and what to change, if needed.
Apple payment types
Apple offers many Apple-branded services, payment methods, and gift cards. It’s a surprisingly long list, and what Apple offers varies depending on the country in which you receive bills or have a bank account.
Apple Pay. Apple Pay lets you add credit and debit cards for contactless payment at point of sale and many types of online payments. You need a device with Touch ID or Face ID to add cards and can securely sync them via iCloud between your devices. A Mac without a T2 security chip can also rely on a mobile device to use Apple Pay. (Apple has a list of countries where Apple Pay is available.)
Apple card. The Apple-branded Mastercard credit card works like any other payment card, but 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 back from an Apple Card. It’s technically a Discover network debit card behind the scenes. You can use Apple Cash to pay for certain types of Apple items. It is only available in the United States
Apple account. It’s not a card, but it’s a balance you can spend on any digital purchase. It appears in multiple places, including all of Apple’s digital storefronts.
Apple Store Gift Card. You can buy or receive a gift credit on an Apple Store Gift Card, which can be redeemed at an Apple retail store, either in person or for online purchases, but not for digital goods. If you are exchanging Apple products for cash, Apple provides it in the form of one of these cards. The balance does not appear digitally anywhere except in your wallet, which is held and available for use in person or through the Apple Store app.
App Store and iTunes Gift Card. For app, media, and subscription purchases, including iCloud storage, this card may carry a balance. Once redeemed, the balance is added and appears 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’s not. In the United States only, Apple introduced the Apple Gift Card in July 2020. This is a universal gift card that can be applied to retail purchases and digital purchases. It can be supplemented with additional credit, allowing you to give gifts and add to it or receive gifts that people can add. When the balance is transferred to your Apple Account balance for digital purchases, it can no longer be used for retail purchases.
Where to find and change payment methods
These are all Apple’s ways of storing and offering payments, but where do you find them? Lots of places, turns out.
Apple divides retail purchases and iCloud storage into one stack, and App Store and media purchases (including in-app purchases and in-app subscriptions) into another. It’s useful for those of us who have two Apple IDs for legacy or other reasons, or who use a personal account for iCloud and another for personal and family sharing.
(Confusingly, subscriptions to Apple Music, News+, TV+, and other services can be purchased with either of these types of Apple ID associations. If you still keep two strictly separate Apple IDs for iCloud and digital purchases, you won’t run into this problem, though.)
To summarize what follows, here are the locations for all the management of your means of payment:
In iOS and iPadOS, you can use Settings > Wallet and Apple Paythe Wallet app, Settings > account name > Payment & Shippingand Settings > account name > Media & purchases.
In macOS, you rely on the Payment & Shipping tab of the Apple ID preference pane (Catalina and later) or the iCloud preference pane. Account Details > Payment (Mojave and earlier) and the App Store, iTunes, Books, Music, and TV apps.
On the Apple ID website, sign in to your account and view the Payment and Shipping area.
Here’s a more detailed look at each of these payout locations:
iOS/iPadOS Settings > Wallet and Apple Pay. Apple lets you manage all the cards you have stored with Apple Pay, as well as view Apple Cash and Apple Card balances, and view specific information about these two types of accounts. You can also choose a card to use for transit in countries that support Express Transit (where you can pay without Face ID, Touch ID, or a password) and set various default settings.
Wallet app. In iOS and iPadOS, the Wallet app reveals the stored value of Apple Store Cards, along with transaction details and other information about your Apple Cash balance, Apple Card balance, and other credit cards and of debt. You cannot make changes here.
Payments linked to iOS/iPadOS iCloud. In iOS or iPadOS, go to Settings > account name > Payment & Shipping to manage details associated with iCloud-related payments. Your Apple Cash balance is shown here and an Apple Card if available. You can also add additional payment methods. Sales and a shipping address here are used for Apple retail purchases, iCloud storage charges (if applicable), and subscriptions connected to your iCloud account.
In macOS Catalina and later, this is in the Apple ID of the Apple ID preferences pane and click Payment & Shipping. In Mojave and earlier, go to the iCloud preferences pane, click Account Details, then click Payment. macOS only displays the primary payment method and balances for your Apple Cash (positive) and Apple Card (negative) accounts. You can also view this information on the Apple ID website when you sign in with the associated Apple ID and look under Payment and Shipping.
However, you cannot make changes except to your shipping address and country for purchases in macOS or on the Apple ID website. Instead, you have to use the App Store or another Apple digital store app – problematic if you have two Apple IDs, as noted above. In this case, iOS and iPadOS are the only way to handle iCloud-related payments.
App Store and media payments. Apple has a separate area in iOS and iPadOS for purchase methods associated with digital purchases. Go to Settings > account name > Media & Purchases > Manage Payments to see a view almost identical to the Payment and Shipping tab above. But note that it shows an Apple account balance, not Apple Cash (if available).
In macOS, use the App Store, iTunes, Books, Music, or TV apps to change digital purchase methods. Depending on the application, choose Account > View My Account Where Shop > View my account and click Show Info. The Apple ID Summary area displays payment information and allows you to manage payment methods.
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