Apple Pay not showing up or working on Apple Watch

using apple watch to pay

Apple Pay is one of the most convenient ways to pay, especially when you are on the go. From your iPhone to your Apple Watch, there are many ways Apple users can access Apple Pay.

But every so often, users can experience some issues with Apple Pay not showing up or not working on Apple Watch. So what gives?

So let’s take a look at how we can fix any Apple Pay issues on your Apple Watch and get it functioning! 

Before troubleshooting, make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone run the latest versions of iOS and watchOS. Often updating the operating system fixes these problems!

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Is Apple Pay not working on Watch but works on iPhone? Make sure you set up Apple Pay on your watch

The first thing to check is to make sure that Apple Pay is set up on your iPhone. If Apple Pay is set up and working on your iPhone, check to see if it is set up on your Apple Watch. If it isn’t, go ahead and do that now.

Some Apple users don’t realize that you need to separately set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch. Even if you already set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you still need to set up and add your cards to your Apple Watch.

Since Apple Pay creates a unique ID for your card on file, every device needs one, including your Apple Watch.

add credit or debit cards to Apple Pay on Apple Watch
You must add credit or debit cards to Apple Pay manually on your Apple Watch using the Watch App.

How to set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the My Watch tab, then scroll down and select Wallet & Apple Pay.
  3. If you have cards that you use on your other Apple devices, they should pop up. Just select them and add in their security information.
  4. If you want to add a new card, select Add Card and fill out the required information. 
  5. Once you add your card, your bank or card issuer verifies your information and decides to use your card with Apple Pay. Most of the time, you get an email or text alert to confirm the card.
  6. When your card is verified, you’re good to go!

If your Apple Pay is set up on your Apple Watch and you’re still having issues with it, follow these tips.

Make sure the Passcode on your Apple Watch is turned on set up passcode on Apple Watch to use Apple Pay

For some reason, the Passcode feature on your Apple Watch needs to be turned on for you to use Apple Pay. If you have Passcode turned off, that’s why you can’t use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch. 

  1. Just go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and scroll down to Passcode.
  2. Click on Passcode and select Turn Passcode On, then create a passcode for your Apple watch passcode
  3. If the Passcode is already on, tap Turn Passcode Off. We recommend turning it off, waiting 15 or so seconds, and then turning it back on.

    apple watch passcode settings tab
    Apple Pay does not work on your Apple Watch if you have Passcode turned off

If Wrist Detection is turned off on your Apple Watch, you have to enter your Passcode each time you use your Apple Pay. We recommend you turn this function on here as well. 

wrist detection apple watch settings app
Wrist Detection automatically locks your Apple Watch when you’re not wearing it.

Check your region and language settings

There may be a mismatch in your region, location, and language settings on your Apple Watch vs. your paired iPhone. 

Check language and region for Apple Watch Apple Watch language and region sections

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the My Watch tab, then go to General > Language & Region. 
  • Choose Mirror my iPhone
    • If you want to use a custom setting, make sure it matches your iPhone’s information.

Check language and region on iPhone language and region settings on iPhone

  • Open the Settings app > General on your iPhone.
  • Tap Language & Region. Verify the information is correct and matches what’s on your watch. 

Restart or Force restart your watch and iPhone

Sometimes, just powering your watch and iPhone off then on solves this problem. If a regular restart didn’t help, try a forced restart.

  • Force restart Apple Watch: press the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time until you see the Apple logo on the watch’s screen. force restart an apple watch
  • Force restart iPhone: press and immediately release the volume up button, press and immediately release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button. Release the side button when the Apple logo appears on your iPhone’s screen. iPhone force restart

Delete your cards and re-add them 

Sometimes, deleting and re-adding your cards can do the trick. You can add cards in the Wallet app and the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Watch app remove card from Apple Pay

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom.
  3. Scroll down and choose Wallet & Apple Pay.
  4. Select the card you wish to delete.
  5. Tap on Remove This Card and confirm.
  6. Once removed, tap Add Card and follow the steps on-screen. Apple Pay on Apple Watch add card

You can also remove cards directly on your Apple Watch

  1. Tap the Wallet app on the Home screen of your Apple Watch
  2. Choose the card you want to delete, then scroll down and tap Remove. Apple Watch Wallet app remove a card
  3. Return to the Wallet’s app main screen, then scroll down and tap Add.
  4. Review the list of available cards, tap a card type and follow the instructions on your Apple Watch’s screen. Apple Watch add a card to Apple Pay

If you are having issues with adding cards, try typing your cards’ information in manually. When you input the numbers manually instead of scanning them, it seems to work best for most Apple users. 

Check Apple Pay’s current status on Apple’s System Status Page Apple Pay System Status at Apple Servers

Whether we like it or not, even the most reliable and best tech outlets experience glitches or outages. Apple’s System Status Page lets you know if any of their services and systems are experiencing technical difficulties. 

If Apple’s System Status Page says that Apple Pay is down or experiencing some issues, then the problem may not be on your end. Just try using Apple Pay later.

Click here to view the Apple System Status Page now.

Contact your bank or Apple Support

If you have tried everything to fix this issue and it’s still not working, you may need to contact Apple Support or your bank.

If there are issues with the card’s verification, contact the card issuer.

But if everything is fine with your card, maybe there’s something wrong on Apple’s end. You can either call them or request online support. 

Unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch and set up your Apple Watch as new (not restore from backup)

unpair apple watch iPhone
If you unpair and then re-pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone, you have to set Wallet up again.

When you unpair your Apple Watch and set it up a new (rather than restore from backup), you have to set up Wallet as well. After doing so, Apple Pay should work on your Apple Watch.

  • To unpair your Apple Watch, go to the Watch app and select All Watches.
  • Tap on the information icon next to your watch.
  • Then you click on Unpair Apple Watch.
  • After unpairing, restart your watch and phone, then open the Watch app to re-pair the devices.
  • Choose to set up your Apple Watch as new instead of restoring from a recent backup. Apple Watch set up as new or restore from backup

Sign out of your Apple ID and sign back in again  

Sometimes, signing out and signing back into your Apple ID does the trick. For Apple Pay to work, you need to sign in with your Apple ID.

So if you were not signed in to Apple ID, that could be the reason why Apple Pay was not working on your Apple Watch.

  1. Go to Settings > Apple ID at the top (usually your name.)
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Sign Out. Apple ID sign out on iPhone in Settings app
  3. Enter your Apple ID password and choose Turn Off.
  4. Select what data that you want to keep a copy of on your iPhone. 
  5. Tap Sign Out and confirm again by tapping Sign Out to sign you out of iCloud.
  6. Restart your iPhone and go to Settings and sign in with your Apple ID. Apple ID sign in on iPhone

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now Apple Pay is working well on your Apple Watch!

Being able to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch is such a convenient feature. It’s great that you can then use Apple Pay without needing your iPhone nearby.

Let us know if you have any other tips, solutions, or additional troubleshooting information for Apple Pay on the Apple Watch!

I'm a content writer with a passion for all things lifestyle having earned my Bachelor of Science in journalism from St. John's University. I was born and raised in Southern California. My Apple Watch never leaves my wrist, but I also adore Fitbit. I love all things health tech, including fitness and self-care apps. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling, reading, and drinking iced coffee!


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