Can You Use Apple Pay at Target? A Complete Guide

Have you ever stood in line at Target, arm weighed down by a week‘s worth of shopping, only to start rummaging around your overflowing wallet at checkout trying to locate your credit card?

Retailers like Target have offered mobile payment options for several years to help streamline the checkout process for time-strapped customers. Apple Pay support rolled out across all Target platforms in 2019, transforming Apple devices into digital stand-ins for your physical wallet.

But how exactly does Apple Pay work at Target, and what do you need to set it up? This comprehensive guide has all the details you need to start leaving your wallet at home.

A Brief History: Target Adds Mobile Pay Support

Apple Pay launched in 2014 as an easier, more secure way to checkout using iPhone and Apple Watch. The mobile payment system stores your credit/debit cards in the Wallet app and uses short-range NFC (near field communication) signals allow tap-to-pay transactions.

While Apple Pay quickly gained traction among shoppers, Target didn‘t initially get on board. After years of customer requests, Target finally announced full Apple Pay integration in January 2019 for all stores, later expanding it to their app and

Target Apple Pay Support Timeline 

January 2019: Apple Pay support launched in stores 
2020: Apple Pay added to Target app
2021: begins accepting Apple Pay

This slow rollout contrasts with other chains like Walgreens who adopted Apple Pay more rapidly across all customer touchpoints. Nonetheless, Target now provides complete Apple Pay support for 75 million iPhone owners across shopping channels.

How Apple Pay Works at Target

Here is a step-by-step overview of using Apple Pay during your next Target run:

1. Set up Apple Pay

Open the Apple Wallet app and add your credit/debit card details. Follow the prompts to save the card to your secure device wallet.

Apple Pay card setup

2. Tap to pay at checkout

When the cashier gives the total, select your card on Apple Pay, and hold your iPhone or Apple Watch close to the contactless reader.

3. Authenticate with Face/Touch ID

Use biometrics or your device passcode to verify it‘s you making the payment.

That‘s it! With phone still in hand, you can grab your bags and exit the store.

Apple Pay removes the need to carry and handover physical cards. The process takes seconds once set up, facilitated by Target‘s 7,500+ NFC-enabled checkout terminals.

Where Can You Use Your Apple Device to Pay at Target?

Customers can use Apple Pay in all the following Target shopping channels:

  • In-store: Tap iPhone or Apple Watch at contactless terminals
  • Through app: Select Apple Pay option when checking out Target app orders
  • Online: Choose Apple Pay as payment method during checkout

So Apple users have flexibility on how they shop and pay using their mobile wallet.

The Game-Changing Impact of Apple Pay

It‘s easy to overlook the immense convenience Apple Pay provides shoppers and security protections behind the scenes. Let‘s analyze some specific ways Target customers benefit from these mobile checkout capabilities:

Time Savings

  • Tapping an iPhone takes 1-2 seconds at checkout versus 15-20 seconds to insert/remove a credit card
  • For a family Target run with a full cart, Apple Pay could save 2-3 minutes

Ease of Use

  • Apple Pay eliminates having to dig out your physical wallet in the checkout line scramble
  • Handles payments for you; no need to remember PINs, sign receipts, etc.
  • Can store/access multiple credit card accounts from one device

Enhanced Security

  • Contactless means your card never leaves your hand, avoiding skimmers
  • Each transaction uses a secure, dynamic security code
  • Encrypted device storage instead of exposing card number

Consumer Appeal for Retailers

  • Provides faster, seamless checkout experience
  • Greater customer loyalty/satisfaction
  • Competitive edge to keep up with shopper expectations

Over 25% of Target‘s transactions are from mobile devices, so Apple Pay facilitates frictionless omnichannel shopping. And contactless growth exceeded 40% last year as consumers seek both convenience and security in their payments.

Apple Pay Purchases Still Reap Target Rewards

Many Target regulars love earning rewards through the REDCards program with 5% back on every order. Rest assured that you still get your typical REDcard cash back and savings perks when checking out via Apple Pay linked to that card account.

Walgreens shoppers faced some initial REDcard rewards restrictions that have since been lifted. So iPhone owners can continue getting the full Target debit/credit card benefits applied.

Apple Pay May Further Displace Cash and Cards

Mobile contactless payments continued seeing massive growth even through the 2020 pandemic, prompting an irreversible shift away from cash and cards:

US Contactless Payments Volume  

2020: $76 billion  (+41% vs. 2019)
2023 (projected): $503 billion  

As more Target shoppers adopt Apple Pay, transaction volume flowing through this channel may accelerate growth even faster. New payment technologies like supporting cryptocurrency wallets in Apple Pay could provide another boost down the road.

So while Target was relatively late fully backing Apple Pay, millions of customers are now leveraging mobile checkout. And Apple‘s tap-to-pay innovation continues fundamentally transforming consumer transactions across retailers.

Final Takeaway Points

  • Target supports Apple Pay in all stores, mobile app, and website
  • Checkout takes seconds by tapping iPhone/Watch near contactless terminal
  • Transactions remain secure with encrypted device storage
  • Customers reap the same Target payment rewards and savings
  • Apple Pay brings speed and security that may further disrupt consumer payments

Hopefully this guide covered everything you need to know to start paying at Target with just your Apple device!

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