By Casey Liss
Apple Pay Messaging
Apple Pay Declined Message

I’ve been a happy, if occasional, Apple Pay user since I got my iPhone 6 shortly after launch. I don’t frequent many places that accept Apple Pay, and as such, have only been able to use it a couple times. Generally speaking, that’s been at Babies 'R Us, because baby.

A month or two ago Erin and I made a trip to Babies 'R Us in order to get some supplies. As usual, I was all excited with myself and anxious to use Apple Pay. At this point, I had only been able to use it a few times — including once or twice at that Babies 'R Us. When I attempted to pay with my phone this time, I was declined. This made an already-semi-awkward social encounter even more awkward, so I quickly grabbed for my physical credit card and swiped it.

Swiping my card worked no problem, which was slightly curious, since it was the same card that I had just attempted to use via Apple Pay. Yes, I know, the numbers are different and it isn’t exactly the same card, but at a glance they should either both work or not.

I thought it was a small hiccup and moved on, with an only marginally damaged customer sat.

This past weekend, Erin and I were trying to grab lunch at Whole Foods. Having not tried Apple Pay at Whole Foods, I was anxious to give it a shot. When I did, I was declined again. Passbook showed the message pictured above. I reached for my physical card again, disappointed.

The cashier then stepped in and provided a critical piece of information:

“Oh, it looks like your card is expired.”


Thinking back, I remember that my physical card had just been replaced in the last couple months. In fact, it was just before the failed Babies 'R Us experience. Suddenly everything makes sense.

However, were it not for the friendly Whole Foods cashier, I never would have known the card stored in Apple Pay had expired. There was no messaging to that effect. All I was told was that I was DECLINED.

To be clear, it’s on me to have forgotten to update Apple Pay when I got a new card. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some more informative messaging from Apple about why I was declined.

I’m assuming that such information is possible with contactless payment terminals. Perhaps not. Either way, this is a small, yet surprising, miss.

UPDATED 2015-04-01 9:45 AM: For Apple people, filed radar #20381783.