If you’re an iPhone user, you might not realize you already have access to Apple Cash. It is a digital payment card built into Apple devices and available in the default Wallet app.
The main function of Apple Cash is to make it easier for Apple device users to send money to each other, including through the iMessage app. But Apple Cash is more than just a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service — it can be used to make purchases online, in stores, or to make in-app purchases.
Apple Cash is a convenient way to transfer money between friends and family. Once set up, a user can simply open the iMessage app and send money to a contact through their chat. It’s also useful for those using Apple Pay, a separate service that allows Apple device users to make contactless payments with any linked card, including an Apple Cash card.
Here are some important things to know about setting up and using Apple Cash.
How Apple Cash Works
Apple Cash is a digital payment card that is stored in the Wallet app of Apple devices, and it can be used to make P2P payments, as well as purchases through Apple Pay. When you receive money from another Apple Cash user, that money appears in your Apple Cash balance. The balance can then be spent or transferred to a linked bank account or debit card.
Sending money to peers with Apple Cash can be done directly from the Apple Cash digital card (in the Wallet app) or through the iMessage app. You can send or receive between $1 and $10,000 per message. The money appears instantly on the recipient’s Apple Cash card, but it can take one to three days for the balance to be transferred to a bank account. Instant transfers to a bank account are possible, but incur a 1.5% fee.
There is also an option to set up Apple Cash Family for children under 18. This option limits the amount a child can send to $2,000 per message. Those under 18 also cannot add money to their Apple Cash card from a bank account; instead, their balance only increases when they receive money from another Apple Cash user.
How to Use Apple Cash
1. Set up Apple Cash with a compatible device
To set up Apple Cash, you’ll need three things:
- A compatible Apple device (iOS 11.2 or later for mobile devices, or watchOS 4.2 or later for watches).
- Two-factor authentication enabled for your Apple ID (this can be done in settings).
- An eligible debit card to load funds onto the Apple Cash card.
In the Settings app, you can enable Apple Cash in the Wallet and Apple Pay section. Tap the Apple Cash card icon and follow the onscreen instructions. You will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions, after which your device will set up Apple Cash for you.
The Apple Cash card, once set up, can be found in the Wallet app on your device.
If you want to set up Apple Cash Family, you must first enable Family Sharing, which can be done in Settings. The family organizer can add children to Apple Cash in the Family Sharing section of Settings.
2. Add money to your card
You will need to have a debit card linked to your digital wallet to add money to an Apple Cash card. You can add a debit card to Wallet in the same place where you set up Apple Cash – the Wallet and Apple Pay section of Settings.
Once a debit card is linked to your Wallet, open Wallet and tap on the Apple Cash card. Next, tap the More button (an icon with three dots). This will open a page where you can view your Apple Cash balance, add money, and transfer funds to a bank account.
Tap Add Money and enter the amount you want to add (minimum is $10). You will be asked to confirm the debit card you want to use to fund the Apple Cash balance, then the money is added to the Apple Cash card.
3. Send payment
There are two ways to send someone a payment using Apple Cash: directly from your wallet or in the iMessage app. Both the sender and receiver need Apple Cash to send or receive money.
To send money from Wallet, just tap the Apple Cash card in Wallet, then tap Send. Type the contact’s name or the recipient’s phone number. Enter the amount you want to send (between $1 and $10,000), then verify the payment and confirm it with Face ID, Touch ID, or a password.
In iMessage, open the conversation with the person you want to send money to or start a new one. Tap the app button, which appears next to the type bar, then tap the Apple Cash icon. You will be prompted to enter an amount (between $1 and $10,000). Once you’ve verified the amount, tap Send and confirm with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.
The first time money is sent to someone, the recipient will need to accept the payment within seven days for it to go through. After the first instance, payments are automatically accepted.
If you use Apple Cash to make a purchase online or in a store, you’ll need to pay with Apple Pay.
4. Transfer your balance to a bank account
When you start accumulating money on the Apple Cash card, you might want to transfer it to a debit card or bank account. This can be done by going to the same place where you added funds to the card, clicking on the icon with three dots next to your digital card.
Enter an amount to transfer, then tap Next. You will be asked if you want to make an instant transfer (at a 1.5% fee) or a free transfer in one to three business days. After making a selection, the screen will ask you to set up a bank account if you don’t already have one. You confirm the payment and the transfer is started.
Instant transfers can only be made to an eligible debit card, not to a bank account. Money is sent within 30 minutes when you select instant transfer.
Apple Cash Alternatives to Consider
- Zelle: If your bank is one of nearly 10,000 establishments offered by Zelle, it may be a good idea to take advantage of the P2P payment service. Zelle is accessible directly from your bank’s mobile app and allows you to send instant transfers at no additional cost.
- Venmo: Anyone can use Venmo, as long as they have downloaded the app. Unlike Apple Cash or Zelle, it is a standalone P2P payment app. Venmo comes with a social element – users can follow each other and add fun emojis to their payments, although they can also keep their account activity private.
- PayPal: This P2P payment service is a good option if you want to send money internationally. It also offers a PayPal debit card, which like the Apple Cash card can be used to make purchases online or in-store.
- Samsung cash payment: Samsung device users can use this option instead of Apple Cash. Similar to Apple Cash, it is a digital wallet that you can access from a Samsung mobile device. However, to take full advantage of Samsung Pay Cash, users will need to go through an additional registration process to upgrade to a full card account.
At the end of the line
Apple Cash makes it easy for Apple device users to send money to each other. Users can simply tap the Apple Cash icon in their text messages to send money via iMessage. It can also be used as an additional repository for spending money and can be used for purchases anywhere Apple Pay is accepted.
That said, only Apple device users can send and receive money with Apple Cash, so those looking for a more universal payment service may want to consider other P2P payment apps.