Using Apple Pay online: how it works and why it matters for your merchants

As an ISV, you’re an expert when it comes to knowing what consumers want from their merchants. 

By now, you know all about the growing demand for Apple Pay® as a contactless payment method—and how it’s changing the landscape of the payments industry

Apple Pay users grew by 66 million in 2020, reaching 507 million users worldwide. As for the U.S. mobile wallet marketplace, Apple Pay transactions dominated in 2020, accounting for 92% of all payments in that purchasing category. 

Another consumer trend you know all about? That one of consumers’ favorite places to make a purchase is from the comfort of their couch. In 2020 alone, over 2 billion people purchased goods or services online, and e-retail sales shot upwards of 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide

So how does Apple Pay factor into online transactions for your merchants?

Well, add the rising popularity and ease of buy-from-home culture with that of Apple Pay and you’ve got a consumer’s match made in heaven. In fact, accepting Apple Pay in an online setting is beginning to be not only desired by consumers, but expected—making it a must-have feature for your merchants. 

Keep reading as we walk through the ins and outs of Apple Pay online and why it should matter to you as an ISV. 

How does Apple Pay work for online purchases?

First, a little background. 

With the arrival of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra came the ability to use Apple Pay as a payment method on websites and apps. And when it comes to ways to pay with Apple Pay online, consumers have options.

Default card

Consumers can easily add debit cards or credit cards to Apple Pay through their Wallet app and select their primary card as their default. Once the card is verified, it can be used for purchases with all of its associated information pre-loaded.

Apple Cash

Apple’s peer-to-peer money transferring service, Apple Cash, allows consumers to use Apple Cash payments they’ve received to make Apple Pay purchases online. This is done by loading funds sent via Messages to their Apple Cash card located in Wallet.

Apple Card

Consumers can also use Apple Card, Apple’s very own physical and digital credit card, in the Wallet app. This card offers a Daily Cash program, which gives consumers varying percentages of cash back on purchases made with the Apple Card.

Now, let’s take a look at Apple Pay online in action. 

Say a consumer is in the market for a new pair of shoes. They’ve been casually surfing online for a few weeks now (in Safari or on an Apple device like their iPhone, iPad, or Mac) and have finally found the perfect pair of shoes on one of your retail merchant’s ecommerce sites. 

What’s next?

Purchasing shirt

1. They’re ready to buy, and they don’t want to wait. (It has been weeks after all.) Time for an online transaction.

Reviewing order

2. They see Apple Pay is a payment option at checkout and are not in the mood to hunt for their wallet, dig out the right card, and fill out a lengthy form.

Checking out with Phone

3. So they click the “Buy with Apple Pay” button.

Phone with Face ID

4. Next comes the Apple Pay online workflow, which for the customer, is as quick as a touch or glance to confirm the payment with Touch or Face ID. Here’s what it looks like on the backend. The merchant’s website or app:

  • Presents the Apple Pay button to the consumer
  • Creates the payment request displaying essential payment information about the order
  • Presents the payment sheet with the order information to the user so they can modify or approve it
  • Responds to any changes made by the consumer by updating the shipping cost and grand total
  • Submits the payment information to the payment gateway once the user authorizes the payment request

Phone with Skymiles

5. And … transaction complete!

After just two required actions on the consumer’s side of the screen, those much-anticipated shoes are on the way to their front door. All while they stayed firmly seated on their couch! See the appeal?

Now, onto what you’re really here to find out.

Man using tablet

Why is Apple Pay online valuable to you as an ISV?

It’s a competitive market, and you want to offer your merchants the best of the best in order to stay competitive. So how does being able to support Apple Pay online benefit ISVs, your merchants, and your merchants’ customers? Let’s find out. 

It’s easy to implement. 

To set up Apple Pay online with your software solution, all it takes is a single integration—no further development work required on your end! This simple API will allow customers to use Apple Pay whenever they interact with your merchant’s ecommerce site or app through your software’s established USPP Payfields integration. It will also allow you to skip slow setup times and get your merchant straight to selling.

It enhances the value of your software offering.

You want to keep up with all the ways customers want to pay. And the fastest-growing arena for digital wallets is in card-not-present environments. 

Apple Pay for online transactions is one of the most secure, advanced payment methods on the market, and it’s now a highly in-demand feature of businesses and customers alike. Remember those 507 million Apple Pay users we talked about at the beginning of this article? You don’t want your merchants to miss out.

With added functionality at no additional cost, offering Apple Pay acceptance online allows your merchants to provide a modern, easy checkout experience that reaches more people, promotes customer satisfaction, and minimizes the risk of losing sales.

It's safe and secure.

In today’s payment landscape, security is everything. Using Apple Pay online keeps personal data and bank account information protected and secure, granting your merchants peace of mind. 

How? It essentially replaces physical cards and cash with an added layer of security through tokenization. When a customer makes a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific account number and unique transaction code so their card number never has to be shared or stored, ensuring their purchases stay private.

Another way Apple Pay works to fight fraud is by allowing customers to verify payments via the Touch Bar on a Mac or through a connection to an Apple Watch, iPhone, or iPad with Face or Touch ID. That’s one more tick in the column for a checkout experience customers can feel good about. 

It’s fast and effortless. 

One of the best things about this functionality is how easy it makes customer checkout. It’s no secret that “slow and difficult” doesn’t sell. If it’s tough for customers to complete checkout, chances are they won’t. 

Using Apple Pay on a website or app allows the consumer to bypass all the manual steps typically required to make an online purchase like typing in contact information, addresses, or credit card numbers. Instead, Apple Pay automatically enters the information associated with the card on file for them. 

You can help your merchants avoid shopping cart abandonment and secure sales with the quick, two-click checkout Apple Pay online makes possible, giving your merchants a leg up on securing loyal, repeat customers. 

There’s nothing like a smooth checkout experience void of roadblocks to put customers on the fastrack to stopping by your merchant’s online storefront again. 

Get started!

At Global Payments Integrated, we’re here to help you grow your business. And we understand that when your merchants succeed, you do too. 

That’s why our unified Apple Pay online functionality, on websites and in-app, is the perfect value-add to offer your merchants as you help them increase sales and excel. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you incorporate Apple Pay’s online functionality into your software solution.

Apple Pay® is a trademark of Apple, Inc. All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners.


Erin Donnelly


Erin is part of the marketing copywriting team at Heartland, a Global Payments company. With a background in writing, editing and strategic communications, Erin works to tell meaningful stories for the small business community. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Erin Donnelly