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How to Add Gift Cards to Apple Wallet: A 6 Step Guide

SYW 101 | June 12, 2023 Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

While most people have a pretty good understanding of how Apple Pay works, not everyone differentiates it from the Apple Wallet app or is familiar with the latter’s ability to store more than just your credit cards. The app can also store gift cards, reward cards, and coupons from your favorite third-party brand. 

By scanning your gift cards and storing them in your Apple Wallet, you can have them only a few taps away. However, the real question is, “How to add gift cards to Apple Wallet?” In this article, we’ll provide you with an answer to that particular question and any related questions about Apple Wallet you might have. 

how to add gift cards to apple wallet

What is Apple Wallet?

Apple Wallet is one of those apps that most Apple users have installed on their iPhones and Apple Watches but most seldom use, despite its growing importance within the Apple ecosystem. Despite what many users believe, the Apple Wallet app is not a novelty. 

The app originated in 2012 when Apple launched Wallet’s predecessor app, called Apple Passbook. Designed as a wallet app that was previously found on premium-class Nokia phones, the Passbook was a digital counterpart to a physical passbook, allowing users to store valuable information. 

Similar to the Wallet app on Nokia’s Symbian OS, the world simply hasn’t put too much faith in the Passbook app because both businesses and people just weren’t ready to go digital, at least at the time of their respective launch. However, times have changed, and the developed world has gone digital, leaving fridge notes and agenda books behind.

In 2014, Apple launched Apple Pay, which supported all the major credit and debit cards like American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. Apple Pay, paired with Apple’s contactless payment technology in its devices, allowed credit card providers to digitize without having to develop their own respective apps. 

When these technologies and apps were integrated with the Apple Passbook app, the users finally understood the convenience these apps and technologies provided. The following year, Apple Passbook officially became Apple Wallet and its use spread like wildfire. 

However, the users weren’t the only ones who understood the convenience these apps brought; retailers did as well. The number of retailers that support Apple Pay and Apple Wallet has been increasing steadily since 2015, and the Wallet app now lets you store coupons, boarding passes, personal IDs, tickets, and even credit cards, all within a single app. 

Apple Wallet is found on all Apple products that support Apple Pay, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, but the app also works with Mac computers.

How to Set Up Apple Wallet

Using Apple Wallet is pretty straightforward; you just use it as you would your typical card holder or a pocket wallet. The app is designed as a digital cardholder for your digital payment, gift, and membership cards; it’s not a payment processor. As a result, it doesn’t require any particular setup apart from adding cards. 

On the other hand, Apple Pay is a payment service by Apple which allows Apple users to make payments either in person, in iOS apps, in-store, or on the web. It basically digitizes and replaces a physical credit or debit card chip and PIN transaction for use at contactless terminals. The digitized cards are stored in the Wallet app, easily accessible to you during your next transaction.

To set up Apple Wallet and Apple Pay, simply enter the Settings app, scroll down, tap on “Wallet & Apple Pay,” and then tap on “Add card.” Follow the instructions on the screen. Once you’ve added your card, scroll to the “Double-Click Side Button” toggle to enable the option; it’s “Double-Click Home Button” on iPhone 9 and other models.

If you scroll further down, you can change your default payment card to the card you previously added. Please note that the first payment card you added to the Wallet will be set as a default card—you can easily change it later. Now that’s all setup, your cards are stored in the Wallet app, and you can use it when you’re out and about. 

To pay for goods and services at contactless payment terminals that support Apple Pay, simply double-click your side (or Home) button, and glance at your iPhone to authenticate with Face ID. Alternatively, you can use Touch ID or a passcode. Once you’re authenticated, hold the top of your phone near the contactless reader until the payment is processed and approved. 

The same process applies to Apple Watches; double-click the side button, hold the display of your Apple Watch near the contactless reader, and wait for a gentle tap that signals payment approval. 

Benefits of Adding Gift Cards to Apple Wallet

Integration with Apple Pay is among the largest benefits of adding your physical cards (including gift cards)  to Apple Wallet. However, there are certain benefits of having digitized, easily accessible cards on one’s person that most people don’t even consider. 

Apple Pay Integration

Integration with Apple Pay allows you to streamline your payment process by simply bringing your iPhone or Apple Watch near the contactless terminal. However, Apple Wallet also keeps track of your payment transactions; open the Wallet app and tap on the desired card to see the listings.

The Wallet app does so much more. It will also update your card information automatically when you’re issued a new card after the old one has expired. This feature has to be supported by your bank, and it usually takes about 24 hours for an update to occur. Apart from that, you can also store and use your boarding passes directly from the Wallet app.

Decreased Physical Clutter

Most of us put our phones, wallet, AirPods, and all the other everyday-carry items in our pockets or purses when going out. Wallets, especially ones used to store cards and cash, can be quite bulky and take up a lot of space.

Apple Wallet is a digital substitute for your physical wallet, and you can store everything, even cash (in the form of Apple Cash) in your Apple Wallet app. This immediately decreases physical clutter in your pockets, purses, or backpacks. 

Increases Security

Approximately one in five Americans have lost their wallet or had a wallet stolen. Carrying physical gift cards, IDs, and credit or debit cards poses a massive security risk these days due to the possibility of loss or theft. However, the Wallet app solves this by digitizing your cards and IDs, allowing you to keep the physical copies safe at home while you’re out. 

Admittedly, you can also lose your iPhone or have it stolen, but you can easily retrieve it using the “Find My” app. Additionally, the Wallet app is Apple’s first-party app, which means that it adheres to the strictest safety standards the company implements. Even if the nefarious party that got a hold of your iPhone tries using Apple Pay, they still have to authenticate through Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

In the unfortunate case in which you can’t retrieve your phone, your cards are still backed up in your Apple ID account. You’ll instantly gain access to them when you get a new phone and enter your Apple account credentials. However, you need to make sure that you enable the Wallet app to sync with the iCloud service. 

Ease of Use

Setting up your digital wallet and adding gift cards and payment methods allows you to access them on any device that’s linked to your Apple ID. This is convenient if you make a quick run to the convenience store around the corner, but if you accidentally leave your phone at home, your cards are linked to your Apple Watch, and you can still use them. 

Payment methods aside, you can simply show the gift card’s QR code or barcode to the cashier, and they can scan it with a barcode scanner directly from your screen. That way, you don’t have to deal with physical gift cards and coupons. 

The Wallet also allows you to keep track of your gift card balance. Just open the App Store on your Apple device, and tap “Purchases” at the bottom of the screen, where you’ll find a list of your available gift cards and balances. 

6 Step Guide on How to Add Gift Cards to Apple Wallet

Gift cards, whether Apple Gift Cards or from a third-party gift card or coupon provider, are a great way to secure discounts for your favorite brands and save some cash in the process. With the Wallet app, you don’t have to juggle with physical gift cards; just enter the gift card information into the Wallet, and you’re good to go. Here’s how you can do it: 

Step 1: Open the Wallet App

apple wallet
Apple wallet icon on Apple iPhone iOS

The first step towards adding a gift card, or a payment card for that matter, an iTunes gift card or a store gift card, is to open the Wallet app. You can typically do this by tapping the Wallet app icon on the home screen of your Apple device (including iPhone), or by double-clicking the Apple Wallet button.

Apple Watch users can swipe up on the watch dial screen to open the app screen and then select the Wallet app icon. However, adding gift cards is much easier on your iPhone, as it has a bigger screen. 

Step 2: Tap the Plus Icon

Once the Wallet app opens, you’ll see a complete list of your cards, including payment and various membership and gift cards. Given that we’re adding a new card, just tap the Plus icon at the top right corner of the screen on both your iPhone and Apple Watch screen. Tapping the Plus icon will open a “Add to Wallet” screen with a choice of options for adding various types of cards. 

Step 3: Select “Add a Gift Card”

Among the available options is “Add a Gift Card,” which is specifically designed to scan and add a selection of gift cards by supported providers to your Apple Wallet. Select this option, and the app will guide you through the rest of the process for adding a gift card or a coupon. 

Step 4: Scan Card Details

Once you select “Add a Gift Card,” the app will ask you to scan the card or enter card details manually. If you have the gift card at hand, you can scan the front and the back of the gift card, and the app will process everything for you. 

However, you can also add this card information manually by entering the gift card number, name, and amount. If you’re adding a credit or debit card, you’ll be asked to provide the card’s CVV number located at the back of the card.

Step 5: Verify Card Information

After entering the card information, you’ll be prompted to verify it, thus ensuring that you entered the gift card details correctly. If the card requires a billing address, and some cards do, you can tap on the “Add Billing Address” button, which will subsequently take you to the news screen in which you can enter the billing address info. Once you enter and verify all the information, you’ll be brought to a confirmation screen. 

Step 6: Confirm Card Information

Once you added the gift or payment card details, entered additional information if necessary, and verified all the details, you can further review and confirm the gift card. You’ll also be able to see the name listed on the card (yours or the person who gifted you the card), as well as the amount on the gift card. If all the information looks correct, just tap “Confirm,” and you’ve successfully added a gift card to the Wallet app. 

Optional Step 1: Add a Cardholder Name

You can add a cardholder name to any card you added to the Wallet if you’re so inclined. For example, you might have your spouse’s credit card info on your phone for emergencies, so you might want to assign an appropriate cardholder name to avoid mix-ups. 

Assigning a cardholder name means that the name on the card will appear instead of your name. To do so, select the “Add a Cardholder Name” option, and enter the cardholder name. After you’ve entered the cardholder name, just confirm the information, and proceed with adding the card as in the previously described steps. 

Optional Step 2: Add a Photo of the Card

By taking a photo of the gift card’s details, you can more easily identify the gift card without having to open its details from within the Wallet app. Just take the photo using your camera, open the Wallet app, select the appropriate card, and select “Add a Photo of the Gift Card.” 

Select the “Choose from Library” option, which will open the photos on your Apple device, where you can select the appropriate photo. After selecting the photo, you can confirm the card details and continue with the process as usual until you’re finished with adding a card to your Wallet app.

Optional Step 3: Check Everything Out

After you’ve added the gift card or any other card, be it payment or ID, you can check the Wallet to see if they’re there. In the case of gift cards, open the Wallet App by tapping the Wallet app icon on your home screen. Once the app opens, select “Gift Cards,” which will open the screen with all the gift cards you’ve added to the Wallet app. 

How to Add a Gift Card Provided by a Third-Party App

Some gift cards or coupon providers, such as Shop Your Way, require that you add a gift card to your Wallet from within their own Apple Store app. Adding these is rather simple; just download the third-party app, open it, and follow the instructions in the app to sign into your customer account. 

Once that’s done, look for a gift card or a coupon in the app, where you’ll find an “Add to Wallet” button alongside the card or coupon. Just select the option, and the card or coupon will be loaded into your Wallet app. If you don’t see an “Add to Wallet” button, you’ll have to enter the card information manually. 

It always pays to check out the apps that are supported by Apple Wallet. You can do this under the “Support” section on the App Store page. 

Shop Your Way

Source: Shop Your Way

You can add gift cards to your Wallet either through the app itself, through the Settings app options, or through the brand’s third-party apps that support Apple Pay. For example, you can use your Shop Your Way card during your everyday purchases to earn points, which you can then exchange for an Apple Gift Card.

You can load your Shop Your Way card into the Apple Wallet and then exchange your points within the company’s app to add an Apple Gift Card to your Apple Wallet and save money during your new Apple purchase. 

Common Questions about How To Add Gifts to Apple Wallet

How do I add a gift cards to Apple Wallet on my iPhone?

It is not possible to directly add gift cards to Apple Wallet on an iPhone. Apple Wallet is primarily designed to store digital versions of credit cards, debit cards, boarding passes, tickets, and loyalty cards.

See above for details on how to add the digital version of your gift card to your iPhone’s Apple Wallet.

What cards can be added to Apple Wallet?

Apple Wallet, also known as Wallet, allows you to store various types of cards digitally on your Apple device. Here are the types of cards that can be added to Apple Wallet:

1. Credit and debit cards: You can add your credit and debit cards from participating banks to Apple Wallet. This lets you make payments using Apple Pay at supported merchants.

2. Transit cards: In certain regions, you can add transit cards to Apple Wallet. These cards can be used for contactless payments when using public transportation.

3. Boarding passes: You can store digital boarding passes for flights in Apple Wallet. This eliminates the need to carry a physical ticket as you can simply scan the digital pass at the airport.

4. Event tickets: Apple Wallet allows you to store digital tickets for events like concerts, movies, and sports events. This makes it easy to access and use your tickets without needing a physical copy.

6. Store and loyalty cards: You can add digital versions of store and loyalty cards to Apple Wallet. This lets you conveniently access and use these cards at participating stores or earn rewards without carrying physical cards.

It’s important to remember that the availability of these features can vary based on your location and the services offered by banks, transportation authorities, event organizers, and retailers. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on supported cards and features, it’s recommended to visit Apple’s official website or refer to the latest iOS documentation.

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