Everything You Need To Know About Using Apple Pay In Spain

Have you ever visited Spain and struggled to pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch? You’re not alone! While Apple Pay has been around for years, its adoption in Spain has been slower than in other European countries.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Apple Pay is available in Spain but acceptance is still limited compared to other payment methods. You’ll be able to use it at many large retailers and transportation services, but smaller shops may not take it yet.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to use Apple Pay during your trips to Spain, including which banks and cards support it, where you can pay with it, tips for when it doesn’t work, and more.

A Brief History of Apple Pay in Spain

Apple Pay, the popular mobile payment and digital wallet service, made its way to Spain in 2016, bringing with it a new and convenient way for consumers to make purchases. This introduction was a part of Apple’s expansion into European markets, following successful launches in the United States and several other countries.

Apple Pay Arrived in Spain in 2016

In November 2016, Apple Pay officially launched in Spain, making it the 13th country to support the service. Spanish consumers were excited to finally have access to this innovative payment method, which allowed them to make secure and contactless transactions using their iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad.

With the help of major Spanish banks such as Banco Santander, CaixaBank, and Bankia, Apple Pay quickly gained traction. Users were able to add their credit and debit cards to the Wallet app on their devices and use them to make payments at a wide range of retailers, both online and in physical stores.

Adoption Has Increased but Remains Low Overall

While the introduction of Apple Pay in Spain was met with enthusiasm, the adoption rate has been relatively low compared to other countries. One reason for this could be the strong presence of traditional payment methods such as cash and credit cards in the country.

Many Spaniards are accustomed to using these more established payment methods and may be hesitant to switch to a new, digital alternative.

Another factor that may have contributed to the slower adoption is the limited availability of Apple Pay-compatible devices. While iPhones are popular in Spain, not everyone owns an Apple Watch or iPad, which limits the number of potential users for the service.

Despite the relatively low adoption rate, Apple Pay continues to grow in popularity in Spain. More and more retailers are now accepting Apple Pay, and major banks are actively promoting the service to their customers.

As consumers become more familiar with the benefits and convenience of Apple Pay, it is expected that adoption will continue to increase in the coming years.

For more information about Apple Pay in Spain, you can visit the official Apple website or consult your bank’s website for details on how to set up and use Apple Pay with your accounts.

Which Banks and Cards Work with Apple Pay in Spain?

If you’re a tech-savvy individual who wants to make payments on the go, Apple Pay is a convenient and secure option. But before you dive into using this mobile payment service in Spain, it’s important to know which banks and cards are compatible with Apple Pay. Here’s what you need to know:

Major Issuers Like Santander and CaixaBank Support It

When it comes to banking giants in Spain, Santander and CaixaBank are leading the way in supporting Apple Pay. Both banks allow their customers to add their credit and debit cards to the Apple Wallet, making it easy to make purchases with just a tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch.

This means that if you have an account with either Santander or CaixaBank, you can start using Apple Pay right away.

Other major banks in Spain, such as BBVA and Bankia, have also embraced Apple Pay, giving their customers the option to link their cards to the service. With the widespread adoption of Apple Pay among major issuers, it’s becoming increasingly convenient for Spaniards to make contactless payments using their Apple devices.

Debit and Credit Cards From Visa, Mastercard, and Amex Accepted

Apple Pay in Spain is not limited to just a few card providers. In fact, the service supports a wide range of debit and credit cards from major card networks, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express (Amex).

Whether you have a Visa debit card, a Mastercard credit card, or an Amex card, you can easily add it to Apple Pay and start making secure and convenient payments.

Furthermore, in Spain, many local banks issue their cards under these major card networks. This means that even if you don’t have an account with a major issuer like Santander or CaixaBank, you may still be able to use Apple Pay with your local bank’s Visa or Mastercard.

It’s worth noting that not all cards issued by the supported banks and card networks in Spain are compatible with Apple Pay. Some prepaid cards, corporate cards, and certain specialized cards may not be eligible for use with Apple Pay.

To determine if your specific card is compatible, it’s best to check with your bank or card issuer.

Where Can You Use Apple Pay in Spain?

Apple Pay, the popular mobile payment and digital wallet service, is gaining traction in Spain. While not all establishments accept Apple Pay, its availability is gradually expanding across the country. Here are some key places where you can use Apple Pay in Spain:

Larger Retailers and Transportation Accept It

Many larger retailers and transportation services in Spain have embraced Apple Pay as a convenient and secure payment method. Major supermarket chains, department stores, and even popular fashion brands now accept Apple Pay.

Additionally, public transportation systems such as buses, metro stations, and train stations have integrated Apple Pay into their ticketing systems, making it effortless to purchase tickets and travel around the country.

Smaller Shops May Still Rely on Cash or Cards

While Apple Pay is becoming more widely accepted, it is important to note that smaller shops and local businesses in Spain may still predominantly rely on traditional payment methods such as cash or cards. This is especially true in rural areas or less touristy regions.

It is always a good idea to carry some cash or a physical card as a backup when visiting smaller establishments.

Useful Locations Like Hotels, Taxis, Vending Machines

Apple Pay can also be used in various other convenient locations in Spain. Many hotels now offer Apple Pay as a payment option, making the check-in and check-out process seamless and hassle-free. Taxis in major cities like Madrid and Barcelona also accept Apple Pay, providing a convenient and contactless way to pay for your ride.

Additionally, some vending machines have been equipped with Apple Pay compatibility, allowing you to purchase snacks or drinks with just a tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch.

It’s important to note that the availability of Apple Pay may vary from location to location. To ensure that a specific establishment accepts Apple Pay, it is recommended to check their website or contact them directly before making a purchase.

Tips for Using Apple Pay Successfully

Have a Backup Payment Method Handy

While Apple Pay is a convenient and secure way to make payments, it’s always a good idea to have a backup payment method available, just in case. Although Apple Pay is widely accepted in Spain, there may still be some retailers or establishments that do not accept it.

So, it’s advisable to carry a physical credit card or some cash with you as a backup option.

Know When to Try Touch ID Instead

When using Apple Pay, you can authorize transactions either by using your device’s Touch ID or by entering your passcode. In most cases, using Touch ID is quicker and more convenient. However, there may be situations where Touch ID doesn’t work, such as when your fingers are wet or if you’re wearing gloves.

In such cases, knowing how to quickly switch to entering your passcode can save you time and frustration.

Check for Signage Before Paying

Before attempting to use Apple Pay at a store or restaurant, it’s a good idea to look for signage that indicates whether Apple Pay is accepted. Look for the Apple Pay logo or any signs that mention contactless payments. This will help you avoid any confusion or disappointment at the point of sale.

If you don’t see any signage, it’s best to ask the cashier or staff if Apple Pay is accepted.

For more detailed information about using Apple Pay in Spain, you can visit Apple’s official website. They provide a comprehensive guide and frequently asked questions about using Apple Pay in different countries, including Spain.

The Future of Apple Pay in Spain

As technology continues to advance, the future of Apple Pay in Spain looks promising. With the increasing smartphone use driving adoption, new services and features on the horizon, and Spain’s potential to catch up with other European Union (EU) countries, the stage is set for Apple Pay to revolutionize the way people make payments in Spain.

Increasing Smartphone Use Driving Adoption

The widespread use of smartphones in Spain has paved the way for the rapid adoption of mobile payment systems like Apple Pay. According to recent statistics, the number of smartphone users in Spain is steadily increasing, with more than 20 million people relying on their smartphones for various tasks.

With Apple Pay being integrated into iPhones and other Apple devices, it offers a convenient and secure way for users to make payments on the go.

Additionally, the younger generation, known for their tech-savviness, is leading the way in embracing mobile payment solutions. As this demographic continues to grow and become increasingly reliant on their smartphones, the use of Apple Pay is expected to skyrocket.

New Services and Features May Expand Acceptance

Apple is constantly innovating and adding new services and features to enhance the Apple Pay experience. One of the most notable additions is the Apple Cash feature, which allows users to send and receive money through iMessage.

This feature has the potential to expand the acceptance and usage of Apple Pay in Spain, as it provides a seamless and easy way for people to transfer funds to friends and family.

Furthermore, Apple is actively working on partnerships with major banks and retailers in Spain to increase the acceptance of Apple Pay. By collaborating with these institutions, Apple Pay can become a widely accepted payment method across various industries, including retail, transportation, and dining.

Spain Lagging Behind Other EU Countries

While Apple Pay is gaining traction in Spain, it is still lagging behind some other EU countries in terms of adoption and acceptance. Countries like the United Kingdom and Germany have embraced mobile payment solutions more readily, with a higher percentage of their population using services like Apple Pay.

However, this lag does not mean that Apple Pay cannot thrive in Spain. With the increasing smartphone use and the efforts being made to expand acceptance, it is only a matter of time before Apple Pay becomes a mainstream payment method in Spain.


While Apple Pay may not be as widely used in Spain as in the U.S. or U.K., its acceptance is steadily growing. With more Spanish banks adding support and merchants seeing its convenience, Apple Pay will likely become a mainstream payment method in Spain in the coming years.

By understanding which cards work and where you can use it, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of Apple Pay during your next visit. With this guide, you can travel in Spain with added convenience and leave your physical wallet behind!

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