watchOS 10 lets you add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay directly in the watch’s Wallet app, as well as finish the setup—without requiring your paired iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 4 with the stainless steel band
watchOS 10 includes new Wallet features | Image: Saul Flores/Unsplash

With watchOS 10, you can add a card to the Apple Watch’s Wallet app without adding it first on your iPhone. Previously, you were required to add a card through the Watch app on your iPhone for it to become available on the watch.

watchOS 10 lets you add cards directly on Apple Watch

This and other Wallet and Apple Pay improvements are detailed in the WWDC23 session video highlighting what’s new in Wallet and Apple Pay on watchOS 10.

When the watchOS 10 update drops in the fall and you install it, you’ll be able to open the Wallet app, touch the Add Card button and complete the process without requiring an iPhone. This button is also present in watchOS 9 but requires picking a card from the list of cards you’ve already added to your iPhone.

Thankfully, the watchOS 10 update supports the full Apple Pay setup process, including entering a card’s number, expiration date and security code right on the watch, even if the card has not been already added to your iPhone.

Your card issuer may require additional steps to verify your identity, like a phone call or an SMS code, but you can now complete those steps on the watch itself, too. You can add Apple Account, credit, debit and transit cards in the watchOS Wallet app.

How to add a card to Apple Watch on watchOS 9 and earlier

Here are the steps for adding a credit or debit card to Apple Watch through the companion Watch app on an iPhone with iOS 16 and earlier:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Select the My Watch tab, then choose Wallet & Apple Pay.
  3. Hit the Add Card button, then follow the onscreen instructions.

The added card will appear in the Wallet app on your Apple Watch, and you’ll feel a ping on your wrist confirming the action.

Apple Pay and Wallet tutorials

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