Mobile contactless payments are exploding. Apple Pay now boasts over 507 million users worldwide, while PayPal has over 430 million active account holders globally. Combining the convenience of Apple Pay with the ubiquity of PayPal seems like a no-brainer for consumers. But unfortunately, these two payment giants don‘t play nicely together – yet.
In this guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through the current workarounds for integrating PayPal into your Apple Pay experience. You‘ll learn:
- How to use PayPal QR codes for easy in-store payments
- How to add a debit or credit card to Apple Pay
- How to connect PayPal to your iCloud account for app and online payments
- How to change your default Apple Pay card
- When we could potentially expect direct Apple Pay and PayPal integration
Follow along for tips from an experienced payments insider on how to link PayPal with your iPhone and Apple Pay.
Making Contactless PayPal Payments with QR Codes
Apple Pay doesn‘t directly allow PayPal as a payment method yet. But if a retailer accepts QR code payments, you can still use PayPal contactlessly from your iPhone.
Here‘s how it works:
QR Codes Offer Easy, Secure Contactless Payments
QR or "quick response" codes provide an encrypted barcode that contains your payment information. They offer a simple tap-and-go payment method without needing NFC equipment.
Retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Trader Joe‘s now accept QR code payments through their apps. And QR code adoption is rising globally, with over $2 trillion in mobile QR transactions expected in 2025 according to Juniper Research.
Step 1: Open Your PayPal App
Launch the PayPal app on your iPhone and log into your account.
The app allows you to store debit/credit cards, bank accounts, PayPal balance, and other payment sources.
Step 2: Tap on the QR Code Button
In the top right of your PayPal app, click on the QR code icon. This opens up your phone‘s camera and unique QR payment code.
Step 3: Choose Your Preferred Payment Source
Select how you want to pay – PayPal balance, bank account, a stored debit/credit card, etc.
You can store up to 8 payment methods in your PayPal app.
Step 4: Have the Retailer Scan Your QR Code
When you‘re ready to pay, have the retailer open their payment app and scan your PayPal QR code. And you‘ve just paid contactlessly using PayPal!
This provides a easy and socially distant payment experience.
Adding a Debit/Credit Card to Apple Pay
Since direct PayPal integration isn‘t available yet, let‘s look at adding a physical debit or credit card to Apple Pay instead.
Apple Pay works with most major debit/credit card networks like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. It‘s available in over 60 countries globally.
Here‘s how to add a card on your iPhone:
Step 1: Open Your iPhone Settings
Launch the Settings app from your iPhone home screen.
Step 2: Scroll Down and Tap on Wallet & Apple Pay
About halfway down the menu, tap on the "Wallet & Apple Pay" option.
This is where you manage cards linked to Apple Pay.
Step 3: Tap the "Add Card" Button
Under the Apple Cash section, tap on the "Add Card" button.
Tapping this will initiate the card setup process.
Step 4: Choose Your Preferred Credit or Debit Card
On the next screen, select the debit or credit card you want to add to Apple Pay.
You can add an existing physical card or new digital card.
Step 5: Enter Your Card Details to Add It
Fill in your card number, expiration date, CVV security code, and billing details. Then tap "Next" to add the card to Apple Pay.
Apple uses tokenization technology to store your card securely.
And that‘s it – your card is now ready for Apple Pay purchases and payments!
Adding PayPal to Your iCloud Account for Instant Online Payments
While Apple Pay doesn‘t support direct PayPal integration yet, you can add your PayPal account to iCloud. This enables PayPal for online purchases, in-app payments, subscriptions, and more.
Adding PayPal to iCloud only takes a few minutes:
Step 1: Access Your Profile in Settings
In Settings, tap your name/profile picture at the very top of the menu.
This houses your iCloud and Apple ID account settings.
Step 2: Tap on Payment & Shipping
Next select "Payment & Shipping" about halfway down the page.
This is where you manage payment methods for online Apple purchases.
Step 3: Choose "Add Payment Method"
Alongside your current payment cards, choose the "Add Payment Method" option.
Tapping this allows you to add an additional payment option like PayPal.
Step 4: Select PayPal as Your Preferred Payment Method
Rather than entering a physical credit/debit card, select the PayPal option from the payment type list.
This instantly enables PayPal for your iCloud account.
Step 5: Log into Your PayPal Account
It will redirect to the PayPal login page. Enter your PayPal email and password (and 2FA code if enabled) to authorize access.
After logging in, your iCloud account can now utilize PayPal for purchases and subscriptions across Apple‘s ecosystem.
For example, you can pay for App Store downloads, Apple Music, iCloud storage upgrades, and more with just a few clicks via PayPal. Much easier than entering card details each time!
Changing Your Default Apple Pay Card for Seamless Tap & Pay
If Apple Pay ever adds direct integration with PayPal, you‘ll probably want to make it your new default payment method for in-store tap & pay. Here‘s how to change your default Apple Pay card:
Step 1: Access Settings on Your iPhone
Launch the Settings menu.
Step 2: Tap on the Wallet & Apple Pay Option
Scroll down and select the "Wallet & Apple Pay" menu.
Step 3: Choose "Default Card"
Tap on "Default Card" under Transaction Defaults.
Step 4: Select Your New Default Payment Card
Choose PayPal or another preferred card as the new default payment method.
And your default card for Apple Pay will be updated! Now just double click the side button at contactless readers to pay with this card.
You can still alternate between multiple cards when you initiate an Apple Pay transaction. But your updated default will now show up first.
Outlook for Apple Pay and PayPal Integration
The big question: Will we ever get direct PayPal integration with Apple Pay?
Unfortunately, technical and business challenges have prevented integration so far. PayPal runs on the NVP/SOAP protocols, while Apple Pay uses EMV and tokenization standards according to payments industry insider David Gurle.
But Gurle predicts the "political will" for integration is there from both Apple and PayPal. Consumers increasingly expect flexibility in linking payment accounts to mobile wallets.
So integration may very well still happen… eventually. We‘ll have to wait and see!
In the meantime, the workarounds above allow you to utilize PayPal widely in your iPhone and Apple Pay experience. I hope this guide gave you a deeper understanding of how to connect Apple and PayPal‘s payment worlds. Just let me know if you need any help getting set up!