Apple Pay Vs Apple Wallet: What’S The Difference?

In today’s digital world, mobile payments are becoming increasingly common. Two of the most popular mobile payment services for iPhone users are Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. But what exactly is the difference between these two Apple services?

Read on as we explore the key distinctions between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Apple Pay is used for making purchases and payments using your iPhone or Apple Watch. Apple Wallet holds your digital wallet items like payment cards, tickets, rewards cards and more.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a mobile payment service provided by Apple Inc. It allows users to make payments using their Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. With Apple Pay, users can securely and conveniently make purchases in stores, online, and within apps.

A mobile payment service

Apple Pay is a convenient and secure way to pay for goods and services without the need to carry physical cash or credit cards. Users can simply add their credit or debit cards to their Apple Wallet and make payments by holding their device near a contactless payment terminal.

Uses NFC technology

Apple Pay utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to facilitate contactless payments. This means that users can simply tap their device on a payment terminal to complete a transaction. NFC technology ensures quick and seamless payment experiences.

Works with credit/debit cards

Apple Pay supports major credit and debit cards from various banks and financial institutions. Users can easily add their cards to their Apple Wallet and choose which card to use for each transaction. This convenience makes it easy for users to manage their finances and make payments using their preferred cards.

Accepted at many retailers

Apple Pay is widely accepted at a growing number of retailers, both online and offline. Many popular stores, restaurants, and apps have integrated Apple Pay into their payment systems, providing users with a seamless and streamlined checkout process.

Secure encrypted transactions

Apple Pay prioritizes security and protects users’ payment information. Each transaction made with Apple Pay is encrypted and tokenized, meaning that the user’s card information is never shared with the merchant. This adds an extra layer of security and gives users peace of mind when making payments.

What is Apple Wallet?

Apple Wallet is a digital wallet app developed by Apple Inc. It is a convenient and secure way for users to store various items such as cards, passes, tickets, and rewards cards on their Apple devices.

A digital wallet app

Apple Wallet functions as a digital wallet app that allows users to store and access various items digitally. It eliminates the need for physical cards or passes, making it more convenient for users to carry their essentials.

Holds wallet items like cards & passes

With Apple Wallet, users can store a wide range of wallet items, including credit and debit cards, boarding passes, movie tickets, event tickets, loyalty cards, and more. It acts as a centralized hub for all these items, making it easier for users to manage and access them.

Can store credit/debit cards

One of the key features of Apple Wallet is its ability to store credit and debit cards. Users can add their card details to the app and use it for contactless payments with Apple Pay. This allows for a seamless and secure payment experience, without the need to carry physical cards.

Also holds tickets, rewards cards, etc

In addition to credit and debit cards, Apple Wallet can also hold various other items such as tickets and rewards cards. Users can store their event tickets, airline boarding passes, and even digital movie tickets in the app.

It also supports rewards cards from participating retailers, allowing users to earn and redeem rewards easily.

Access wallet items quickly

Apple Wallet provides quick and easy access to all the stored items. Users can simply open the app and select the desired card, pass, or ticket to use or view. This eliminates the need to search through physical wallets or bags, saving time and making transactions more efficient.

Key Differences

Apple Pay facilitates payments

One of the key differences between Apple Pay and Apple Wallet is their primary function. Apple Pay is specifically designed to facilitate payments, allowing users to make purchases in stores, online, and within apps using their Apple devices.

With Apple Pay, users can securely store their credit and debit card information and simply tap their device to make a payment at participating merchants.

According to a recent study by Statista, the number of Apple Pay users has been steadily increasing over the years, reaching an estimated 441 million users worldwide in 2020.

Apple Wallet stores cards & passes

On the other hand, Apple Wallet serves as a digital wallet where users can store various cards and passes, including credit and debit cards, boarding passes, event tickets, loyalty cards, and more. It provides a convenient and organized way for users to access and manage their digital items in one place.

According to Apple’s official website, Apple Wallet also supports contactless student ID cards, allowing students to access campus facilities and make purchases using their iPhone or Apple Watch.

Apple Pay uses NFC for transactions

When it comes to transactions, Apple Pay utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which enables secure and contactless payments. Users can simply hold their Apple device near an NFC-enabled payment terminal and authenticate the transaction using Touch ID or Face ID.

According to a study conducted by PYMNTS, contactless payments have been gaining popularity, with 56% of consumers in the United States using contactless methods, including Apple Pay, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wallet items accessible from the app

While Apple Pay focuses on payments, Apple Wallet provides a broader range of functionalities. Users can access their stored cards and passes directly from the Wallet app, making it easy to present boarding passes at the airport, redeem loyalty rewards at a retail store, or scan a digital event ticket at a concert.

Furthermore, Apple Wallet can also display notifications and updates related to the stored cards and passes, such as flight gate changes or upcoming event reminders.

Apple Pay is more widely accepted by merchants

Due to its focus on payments, Apple Pay has gained wider acceptance among merchants compared to Apple Wallet. Many retail stores, restaurants, and online platforms have integrated Apple Pay into their payment systems, allowing customers to conveniently make purchases using their Apple devices.

According to a survey conducted by Digital Commerce 360, 76% of the top 100 US retailers accept Apple Pay, making it a widely accepted payment method in the retail industry.

Using Apple Pay and Apple Wallet Together

Apple Pay and Apple Wallet are two powerful features offered by Apple that can enhance your digital payment and organizational experience. While they serve different purposes, they can be used together seamlessly to provide a comprehensive solution.

Let’s explore how you can make the most out of using Apple Pay and Apple Wallet together.

Cards added to Wallet can be used with Apple Pay

One of the key advantages of using Apple Wallet is the ability to store all your cards in one place. Whether it’s credit cards, debit cards, or even loyalty cards, you can add them to your Wallet for easy access.

Once the cards are added, you can use Apple Pay to make secure payments at supported retailers, both online and in-store. This means you don’t have to carry physical cards with you, and you can make payments with just a tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Wallet stores all cards, Apple Pay uses them for payment

While Apple Wallet acts as a digital wallet to store your cards, Apple Pay is the feature that allows you to actually use those cards for payments. When you make a payment using Apple Pay, it securely accesses the card information stored in your Wallet and completes the transaction.

This adds an extra layer of security as your card details are never shared with the merchant during the payment process.

Passes and tickets stored in Wallet accessible on the go

Aside from cards, Apple Wallet also allows you to store passes and tickets for various events, including boarding passes, movie tickets, concert tickets, and more. These digital items can be accessed easily on your iPhone or Apple Watch, eliminating the need to carry physical tickets or boarding passes.

With just a few taps, you can retrieve your passes and tickets when needed, making your travel and entertainment experiences more convenient.

Apple Pay provides payment functionality, Wallet stores items

It’s important to understand that Apple Pay and Apple Wallet serve different purposes. Apple Pay is primarily focused on providing a secure and convenient payment solution, while Apple Wallet is designed to store various digital items like cards, passes, and tickets.

By using both features together, you can have a complete digital wallet experience, where you can easily manage your payment methods and access important digital items on the go.


In summary, while Apple Pay and Apple Wallet are complementary services, they serve different primary functions. Apple Pay is focused on making secure contactless payments using your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Apple Wallet provides easy access to your digital wallet items like payment cards, tickets, rewards cards and more. Both services provide convenience and accessibility for iPhone users. Understanding the distinction allows you to take full advantage of the benefits offered by Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.

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