It's official: Tim Cook named 2015 as "the year of Apple Pay." Apple's flagship mobile payment platform is off to a running start in the U.S., with support for an impressive number of banking partners and retail stores that's practically growing by the day. And iPhone users are rampantly using it--Whole Foods Market has seen mobile payments increase by more than 400 percent since Apple Pay launched in October 2014.

See also: Apple Pay UK launch date and participating banks and How to use Apple Pay on the London Underground

Ready to start using it yourself? Read on to learn more about how Apple Pay works, how to get your iPhone ready for it, and most importantly, where you can go test it out. We'll keep this page up-to-date as more banks, stores, and apps gain Apple Pay support, too. 

What's the latest?

Best Buy now supports Apple Pay for in-app purchases and this fall will begin accepting Apple Pay in its stores nationwide. Apple announced Best Buy's support during its second-quarter earnings call.

The move is particularly notable because Best Buy is apart of the consortium of major retailers developing an Apple Pay competitor called CurrentC. CurrentC members like Rite Aid and CVS have prevented customers from using Apple Pay at their NFC terminals, but it looks like Best Buy is taking a friendlier approach to Apple--or perhaps the writing's on the wall for CurrentC.

Discover also announced support for Apple Pay is coming this fall. Now that Apple has all of the major U.S. credit card issuers on board, it can ramp up international expansion efforts.

Want to use Apple Pay? Get your iPhone ready

In order to use Apple Pay, you need to have a compatible device and the right version of iOS. For in-store purchases, Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which are the only iPhones equipped with the requisite NFC radio antennae. Besides NFC compatibility, the other piece of the hardware puzzle is a Touch ID sensor, but iPhone 5S owners are out of luck. For in-app purchases, Apple Pay works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3--again, thanks to the Touch ID sensor.

You'll also need to update your iPhone to iOS 8.1 or newer, which will turn on your phone's Apple Pay feature.

Once your iPhone is in order, you'll need to link up a credit or debit card to use for payments. As of April 27, Apple's confirmed credit, debit, bank, and credit union partners are: 

  • 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union
  • A+ Federal Credit Union
  • Affinity Federal Credit Union
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Alliant Credit Union
  • Altra Federal Credit Union
  • Amegy Bank of Texas
  • America First Credit Union
  • America's Christian Credit Union
  • America's Credit Union
  • American Airlines Credit Union
  • American Express
  • American Savings Bank
  • AmeriCU Credit Union
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union
  • Arizona Federal Credit Union
  • Associated Bank
  • Austin Telco Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Bank of Utah
  • Bankers Trust
  • BankPlus
  • Barclaycard
  • Baxter Credit Union
  • BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust)
  • BBVA Compass
  • BECU (Boeing Employees' Credit Union
  • Bellco Federal Credit Union
  • Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  • Black Hills Federal Credit Union
  • BMI Federal Credit Union
  • BMO Harris N.A.
  • Cabela's CLUB
  • California Bank & Trust
  • Cambridge Savings Bank
  • Campus USA Credit Union
  • Canton School Employees FCU
  • Capital One
  • Centennial Bank
  • Central Bank
  • Central Minnesota Credit Union
  • CFE Federal Credit Union
  • Charles Schwab Bank
  • Chase
  • Chrome Federal Credit Union
  • Citadel Federal Credit Union
  • Citi
  • Citizens Bank & Trust
  • Citizens Equity First Credit Union
  • City Employees Credit Union
  • Clearview Federal Credit Union
  • Coastline Federal Credit Union
  • Commerce Bank
  • Commonwealth Credit Union
  • Community Choice Credit Union
  • Connex Credit Union
  • Consumers Cooperative Credit Union
  • Consumers Credit Union
  • Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union
  • Credit Union of Southern California
  • Customers Bank
  • Cyprus Federal Credit Union
  • Deseret First Federal Credit Union
  • Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
  • DFCU Financial
  • Digital Federal Credit Union
  • Discover (launching in Fall 2015)
  • Dupaco Community Credit Union
  • DuPont Community Credit Union 
  • Ent Federal Credit Union
  • ESL Federal Credit Union 
  • Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union
  • F&A Federal Credit Union
  • Fairfax County Federal Credit Union
  • FAIRWINDS Credit Union
  • Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • First Community Bank & Trust
  • First Community Credit Union
  • First Credit Union
  • First Entertainment Credit Union
  • First Fidelity Bank
  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • First National Bank of Pennsylvania 
  • First Niagara Bank
  • First Sentry Bank
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • First Tennessee Bank
  • FirstBank
  • Foothill Credit Union
  • Founders Federal Credit Union
  • Frankenmuth Credit Union
  • Fremont Bank
  • Global Credit Union
  • Golden 1 Credit Union
  • Goldenwest FCU
  • Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
  • GTE Financial 
  • Guaranty Bank & Trust
  • Gulf Winds FCU
  • Hilltop National Bank
  • Hiway Federal Credit Union
  • Huntington Bank
  • IBERIABANK
  • IBM Southeast Employees' Federal Credit Union
  • Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Ideal Credit Union
  • Illinois State Police Federal Credit Union
  • Independent Bank 
  • INOVA Federal Credit Union
  • J.P. Morgan
  • JSC Federal Credit Union
  • Jordan Credit Union
  • KeyBank
  • KeyPoint Credit Union
  • L & N Federal Credit Union
  • Lafayette Federal Union
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union
  • Langley Federal Credit Union
  • Lister Hill Credit Union
  • Logix Federal Credit Union
  • Los Angeles Federal Credit Union
  • M&T Bank
  • MasterCard
  • Meijer Credit Union
  • Members First Credit Union
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • MidFirst Bank
  • Mission Federal Credit Union
  • Missoula Federal Credit Union 
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mountain America Credit Union
  • Municipal Credit Union
  • National Bank of Arizona
  • National Institutes of Health FCU
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NBT Bank
  • Nevada State Bank
  • North Country Federal Credit Union
  • North Shore Bank
  • Northrup Gumman Federal Credit Union
  • Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union
  • Old National Bank
  • ORNL Federal Credit Union
  • Partners Federal Credit Union
  • Patelco Credit Union
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • Pima Federal Credit Union
  • PNC
  • PointBank
  • Point Loma Credit Union
  • Prosperity Bank
  • Publix Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Quorum Federal Credit Union
  • RBC Bank
  • Redwood Credit Union
  • Regions Bank
  • Robins Federal Credit Union
  • Royal Credit Union
  • Sacramento Credit Union
  • Salem Five Bank
  • San Diego County Credit Union
  • San Mateo Credit Union
  • San Francisco Fire Credit Union
  • Sandy Spring Bank
  • Savings Bank of Danbury
  • Schools Financial Credit Union
  • Schools First Federal Credit Union
  • Security Service Federal Credit Union
  • SEFCU
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • SkyOne Federal Credit Union
  • South State Bank
  • Spokane Teachers Federal Credit Union
  • Star One Credit Union
  • State Department Federal Credit Union
  • Stockman Bank of Montana
  • Suncoast Credit Union
  • SunTrust
  • TCF National Bank
  • TD Bank N.A.
  • Teachers Credit Union
  • Technicolor Federal Credit Union
  • Technology Credit Union
  • Telhio Credit Union
  • The Bank of Greene County
  • The Northern Trust Company
  • TIB--The Independent BankersBank
  • Truity Federal Credit Union
  • TruMark Financial Credit Union
  • U.S. Bank
  • U.S. Trust
  • UMB Bank, n.a.
  • United Federal Credit Union
  • United Nations FCU
  • University First Federal Credit Union
  • US Federal Credit Union
  • USAA
  • USAlliance Federal Credit Union
  • Utah Community Federal Credit Union
  • Utah First Federal Credit Union
  • UW Credit Union
  • Uwharrie Bank
  • Vantage Credit Union
  • Vectra Bank
  • Vermont State Employees CU
  • Virginia Credit Union
  • Visa
  • VyStar Credit Union
  • Wanigas Credit Union
  • Wells Fargo
  • WesBanco Bank
  • Wescom Credit Union
  • West Community Credit Union
  • Western Union
  • Wings Financial Credit Union
  • Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union
  • Zions First National Bank

If you already have one of these partner cards linked to your Apple ID for making iTunes and App Store purchases, you can opt to keep using that card with Apple Pay.

You can also add different cards--just launch Passbook and tap the plus-sign in the top-right corner. You'll then be prompted to add either a credit or debit card to use with Apple Pay, or another pass to store in Passbook. Tap "Add Another Card," then follow the entry fields on the next screen. You can speed this up by taking a picture of your card with your iPhone.

Whether you're using the card already linked to your Apple ID or adding a new one, your iPhone will guide you through the setup process, which includes verifying your card, granting Apple Pay access, and then storing it in Passbook. Be sure to have your card handy so you can verify the card with its security code.

The card linked to your Apple ID will be listed as your default Apple Pay card, but you can always change that by going to Settings > Passbook & Apple Pay and updating your transaction default information.

How it works

When buying something at a brick-and-mortar store, you'll hold your iPhone up to a wireless payment terminal near the cash register, and then use Touch ID to complete your purchase. These sensors are the same ones you've already seen in stores, often equipped with both card swipers and a tap-to-pay contactless terminal. The beauty of Apple Pay is that you don't even need to wake up your iPhone or launch Passbook--your phone wakes up automatically when it gets in range of the terminal and initiates the payment process.

If you're buying something through a partnered online store on your iPhone, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3, you'll just use Touch ID to complete the purchase. Depending on the app, you may have to toggle on a setting to allow the app to access Apple Pay, or to set Apple Pay as your default method of payment.

Get shopping 

What makes Apple Pay such a game-changer is how many retail partners the platform has, with new stores being added constantly. Besides the Apple Store, you can use Apple Pay at these brick-and-mortar locations:

  • Acme
  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Babies 'R' Us
  • Bi-Lo
  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Champs Sports
  • Chevron and Texaco, including retail stores like ExtraMile
  • Davis Food & Drug
  • The Disney Store
  • Duane Reade
  • FireHouse Subs
  • FoodMaxx
  • Foot Locker, including Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, House of Hoops, and Run by Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • GameStop
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Harveys Supermarket
  • Jewel Osco
  • Luby's
  • Lucky
  • Macy's
  • McDonald's
  • Meijer
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • Orlando Magic
  • Panera Bread
  • Petco and Unleashed by Petco
  • Phoenix Suns
  • RadioShack
  • Rubio's
  • Save Mart Supermarkets
  • Select kiosks, vending machines, and self-pay stations (in partnership with USA Technologies)
  • Sephora
  • Shaws
  • Six:02
  • Sports Authority
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Staples
  • Star Market
  • Subway
  • T-Mobile stores
  • Toys 'R' Us
  • United Supermarkets
  • Walgreens
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Winn-Dixie

A few more stores will rollout Apple Pay compatibility sometime in 2015:

  • Albertsons
  • Anthropologie
  • Best Buy
  • Free People
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Walt Disney World Resort

For in-app checkouts, Apple Pay works with an overflowing handful of apps:

  • 11 Main Shopping
  • 20Stamps
  • Airbnb
  • Apple Store app
  • Chairish
  • Cleanly
  • Dapper
  • Dealflicks Movies
  • Delectable Wines
  • Disney Store
  • DoorDash
  • Drync
  • Eventbrite
  • Fancy
  • Flextrip
  • Gametime
  • Giftbook
  • GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine
  • Groupon
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Houzz
  • Indiegogo
  • Instacart
  • JackThreads
  • Keep Shopping
  • Levi's Stadium
  • LIFX
  • Lion Tee
  • LivingSocial
  • LoungeBuddy
  • Lyft
  • Merchbar
  • MLB.com
  • Munchery
  • OpenTable
  • Orange Harp Shopping
  • Panera Bread
  • ParkWhiz
  • Pose
  • Postmates
  • Priceline
  • Print Studio
  • Printicular
  • RadPad
  • ScanKart
  • SeatGeek Tickets
  • Sephora to Go
  • Slow Fast Slow - Control the Speed of your Videos
  • Sosh
  • SpotHero - Parking Deals
  • Spring
  • Staples
  • Starbucks
  • Stayful
  • StubHub
  • StyleIt
  • Target
  • ThirdLove
  • Threadflip
  • Ticketmaster
  • TouchOfModern
  • Uber
  • YPlan

Also, JetBlue accepts Apple Pay payments on select flights between New York's John F. Kennedy airport and the airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a fleet-wide Apple Pay rollout expected for later in 2015. Passengers can use Apple Pay to purchase in-air snacks, drinks, entertainment, and seat upgrades. Flight attendants will use iPad minis equipped with NFC-enabled cases to complete transactions, and the system will accept traditional credit and debit card transactions as well. By June, 3500 JetBlue flight attendants will have the Apple Pay-ready iPad minis. 

While JetBlue is paving the way, we wouldn't be surprised to see Apple Pay accepted by other airlines as well. The next likely candidate is United Airlines, which already has released plans to equip 23,000 flight attendants with an iPhone 6 Plus for on board use later this year. However, they haven't announced any plans for Apple Pay integration yet.