Everything you need to know for using Apple Pay in the UAE

Apple’s contactless payment service has launched; ready to start spending?

24 October 2017
by Stuff Staff

It’s official, Apple Pay has finally launched in the UAE after a long, long wait. Are you ready for contactless payments?

Because now anyone with an Apple Watch or iPhone 6 and above (including iPhone SE) can get in on the spending.

If you’re tired of pulling out your wallet for every little expense now’s the time to try digital device payments. But how does it work, and which banks and retailers are onboard at this point?

Luckily, we’ve got the answers to all of your questions. Eager to give Apple Pay a shot? Here’s everything you need to know.


First off, you need a device. Everything from the iPhone 6 (plus the iPhone SE) and above has the necessary NFC chip needed to execute contactless payments at retail terminals. The Apple Watch is similarly equipped, and it opens up the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and iPhone 5C to Apple Pay, as well, since wearing the watch serves as your security verification.

You’ll need a participating credit or debit card, as well – after all, that money has to come from somewhere. We’ll get deeper into which companies and banks are onboard a little later, but if you’re good to go, it’ll just take a couple minutes to register your card before use.

When you check out at a store that has a terminal for contactless payments, you’ll pull up the card in Passbook on your iPhone and hold it near the reader. Apple Pay will verify your identity as you hold your finger on the Touch ID sensor, and then you’ll be all set.

If using the Apple Watch, you can either pull up Passbook or double click the Digital Crown to pull up your card, and then hold it near the reader. So long as the watch is on your wrist, you should be all set.

Your actual credit or debit card number is not stored on the device or on Apple’s servers: a special account number is created for each card, specific to Apple Pay, and a unique code is used for each transaction. So have some peace of mind about your payment info transferring from device to device. At least for now. Who knows when someone’s going to crack the system.


As mentioned above, Apple Pay works on iPhone SE and iPhone 6 and above. It also works on Apple Watch, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. You’ll first need to make sure that your devices are updated to the latest version of their respective OS, that iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad, and watchOS 4 for Apple Watch.

On iPhone or iPad, you first have to enter card details by following these steps:

1) Go to Wallet and tap Add Credit or Debit Card.

2) Follow the steps to add a new card. If you’re asked to add the card that you use with iTunes, just enter its security code.

3) Tap Next. Your bank card or card issuer will verify your information and decide if you can use your card with Apple Pay. If your bank or issuer needs more information to verify your card, they’ll ask you for it. When you have the information, go back to Wallet and tap your card.

4) After your bank or issuer verifies your card, tap Next.


To then make Apple Pay work on your Apple Watch:

1) On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app

2) Under the My Watch menu, tap on Passbook & Apple Pay

3) Tap on ‘Add Credit or Debit Card’.

4) Follow the instructions as above.


It’s simple. With your iPhone or iPad, you hold your device over a contactless card reader with a recognised finger or thumb resting on the Touch ID sensor (the home button, in case you didn’t know).

With an Apple Watch, you double-press the side button below the Digital Crown, select the card you wish to pay with and tilt your Watch towards the reader. You’ll receive a little buzz to tell you your payment has been successful. You don’t need even your iPhone with you to pay.


Apple pay in the UAE supports credit and debit cards from both MasterCard and Visa.

Currently six major banks have come onboard to offer the service, they are: Emirates NBD, Mashreq, HSBC, RAKBANK, Standard Chartered and Emirates Islamic.


Because Apple Pay uses plain ol’ NFC for purchases, stores don’t need special equipment to read your device’s signal: the same terminals used for existing contactless payment services work, if the retailer supports Apple Pay.

In fact, Apple says that “tens of thousands” of places in the UAE are set to accept Apple Pay right now. Numerous major retailers and restaurants are already listed on the website, including Carrefour, Virgin Megastore, Caffe Nero, Marks & Spencers, Sharaf DG, Homecenter and, of course, the Apple Store.

Many more retailers with NFC readers can also take Apple Pay, and surely as contactless payments grow in popularity, that number will surge soon.

Namshi, Ounass and Babyshop are also some of the iOS apps are accepting Apple Pay at launch, with more to follow.

There’s no word yet on whether the service will eventually be used on public transport as in other cities where it is available but we hope that comes soon.




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