How To Use Apple Pay In An Unsupported Country?

What if you could finally use Apple Pay in your unsupported country? What if you had great digital payments security (Apple Pay physical chip encrypts each transaction and doesn’t reveal your card data to anyone), didn’t have to take your wallet with you to buy goods, and could confuse the hell out of cashiers who are not used to customers paying with a phone (or a watch!)? Good news!

Here’s a clear guide to using Apple Pay in your country and enjoying all the benefits of Apple Pay digital money security, easy payments, and not having to take your wallet with you. Or having an internet connection because Apple Pay works like a normal bank card which doesn’t use the internet.

How to use apple pay in unsupported country

Prologue. You might have read the article about setting up a Boon virtual card to enable Apple Pay. Well, in March 2019 Boon stopped supporting bank cards issued outside Apple Pay countries, making it only possible to top-up the Boon account with a wire transfer. And that takes 20 hours. This is why I found out about Monese. Here is a simple guide on how to use Apple Pay in your unsupported country.

Step 1. Get the FCA licensed Apple Pay whitelisted online banking app Monese on your iPhone. Sign up. Order the free contactless Mastercard.

👉 Open App Store and download Monese. Sign up with the invite code DAVIS214 and get a €15 gift when you make your first purchase with your Monese card.

👉 Sign up with your mobile number and your real residence address (it does not have to be in Apple Pay supported countries), and record the fun selfie KYC video recording to complete the onboarding to the online banking app.

👉 Order contactless Mastercard. It costs €5 but the €15 initial gift from my promo code will pay for that when you make your first purchase 🤑 The card does NOT have a monthly fee. View all Monese fees here or read the Too Long, Didn’t Read summary below.

Step 2. Wait until your new Mastercard arrives in your physical mailbox of your residence.

Wait for apple pay

👉 Activate the card in the iPhone app

EDIT: The Mastercard arrived in 3 days (!!!) to a friend in Sigulda, Latvia. My card arrived in ~7 days to Riga, Latvia.

Step 3. Temporarily change the region of your iPhone (and Apple Watch) AND country in the Monese iPhone app to enable adding card function to your Apple Wallet. You will change the region back right afterward.

To change your iPhone region:

👉 Open Settings > General > Language & Region > Ireland > Agree to T&C > Select Payment Method None and re-enter your home address leaving Postcode blank > Smile!

To change your Monese country:

👉 Open Monese > Account > Personal details > Personal address > Country or State (optional) > Ireland. Funny that this is “optional” 😉

To change your Apple Watch region:

👉 Open Watch app on your iPhone > General > Language & Region > Region > Ireland > Wait for your Apple Watch to catch up > Smile!

Your existing apps and documents on your iPhone and Apple Watch will NOT change.

N. B. Existing recurring payment subscriptions in the App Store will be canceled. You’ll need to resubscribe afterward.

Step 3. Add your new Mastercard to Apple Wallet from the Monese App on your iPhone (and Apple Watch).

👉 Your iPhone will pop many notifications to help you add the card to your Wallet.

Activate Apple Pay on Apple Watch app
Screenshot of Wallet & Apple Pay settings on Watch app.


Step 4. Change iPhone (and Apple Watch) region and Monese country back to your home country.

Step 5. Double-click the home button, or double-click the side-button of your Apple Watch.

Voila! Apple Pay is now alive for you. Now go out and confuse the hell out of cashiers at shops who support ‘normal’ contactless NFC card payments. Smile!

Apple pay in action

A cool feature is that Apple Pay works without an internet connection. 😉

View Monese fees here. “Too long, didn’t read” version? Free Monese account offers you ATM cash withdrawals for €1 each. The Premium Monese account for €14.95/month gives you unlimited FREE ATM cash withdrawals (this is cool) and some other benefits.

N. B. You can only top up your Monese account with bank cards that support 3D Secure authorization like Swedbank, SEB, Citadele, etc. OR you can top-up your Monese account with a wire transfer.

P. S. If the first time the contactless credit card terminal doesn’t accept your iPhone (like it didn’t for me) then change the angle and aim the terminal with your iPhone’s head.

P. P. S. All bank cards that are issued outside the Apple Pay country you choose will NOT work even after you change the region to Ireland. Cards like N26 WILL work if they are originally issued in Apple Pay countries.

Download Monese, sign up with the invite code DAVIS214 and get a €15 gift when you make your first purchase with your Monese card.

Share your thoughts

47 Replies to “How To Use Apple Pay In An Unsupported Country?”

  1. Hey, there!
    First of all – great job!
    Did everything as described but there is no option to add the card to the wallet in the monese app. And adding it manually via the wallet app also is not working saying “Card Not Added Contact your card issuer for more information”.
    It is an activated blue eurozone monese card with a couple of euros in the balance.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi! Did you change the iPhone region to Ireland (Step 3)? Try changing the region to Ireland, then restart your phone, then open Monese and Apple Wallet – a notification should come up to add your new card to Wallet. Let me know if this works for you!

      1. Boy was i hoping the restart would solve the issue. But it did not. Yes, i do have the region set to Ireland in the settings. Not in the AppStore tho.

          1. I’m also having the same issue. Just received a normal Monese Mastercard (blue-white shapes), but Apple Pay is not allowing to add it

          2. If regular physical mastercard from monese counts as “normal” then yes. 😀
            Got it in the mail and activated in the monese app.

          3. Yes, that is the “normal” Mastercard… Monese works, confirmed in Latvia today, but adding the cards seems to be down. Wrote to Support, will let you know ASAP!

          4. Monese + Apple Pay works again! It turns out that after a recent update you also have to change the country in Monese app to Ireland. Open Monese > Account > Personal details > Personal address > Country or State (optional) > Ireland. Funny that this is “optional” Enjoy Apple Pay!

    1. Yesterday I called Monese support – since existing Monese cards (with Latvia address) are working with Apple Pay, and Monese has no plans of canceling support, the support passed it forward to the manager behind dealing with Apple Pay. Stay tuned!

    2. I ran into the same problem. Turned out that you have to change not only region on your devices but also country in your address field. After that Apple Pay started to work.

      1. Confirming – adding card to Apple Pay works when you change the address field in Monese app > Account > Personal details > personal address > County or State (optional) to Ireland.

        Thank you Gints!

    3. Monese + Apple Pay works again! It turns out that after a recent update you also have to change the country in Monese app to Ireland. Open Monese > Account > Personal details > Personal address > Country or State (optional) > Ireland. Funny that this is “optional” Enjoy Apple Pay!

  2. Tried to top-up my old Boon card with Monese and it kinda started to work, showed 3D screen and then failed. In the Monese app i see transaction – Boon Payment (failed)

      1. Unfortunately, Monese do not allow to top-up Boon by now:

        Dear Gints,

        Thank you for contacting us with this issue.

        This merchant has been blocked by our card issuer due to security reasons. Please note that we are aware of this and are working towards minimising such restrictions in the future.

        If you need to pay this merchant, another option would be making a bank transfer instead. If this option is not available, please try using another merchant.

        We apologise for any inconveniences caused due to this!
        Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

        Best regards,

        Monese Support Team

  3. Hey

    Everything works fine up till verifying my monese card. Did you verify it via phone call to monese?

      1. No. The only option i have is to verify trough phone call. First time i called them they said they can’t help and sent me generic email about apple pay working only in UK or France. Actually the same issue i had with boon

  4. Few notes:
    1) when changing ios region i didnt have to agree to any t&c and reenter address, same on watch
    2) none of my subsriptions were cancelled
    3) didnt get any recommendations to add card to apple pay. I just added it directly in settings (manually) and it worked just fine. Maybe i didnt wait long enough or had to open monese app…


  5. I was surprised, that you cant top up Monese with credit card, only with debit card. I have my reasons to use credit card instead debit card (cashback for example). Solution is to use Revolut. You can top up Revolut with credit card and then top up Monese with Revolut debit card. I know it is not very convenient, but it works for me.

    1. This is smart! Fingers crossed that Monese doesn’t ban Revolut from topping up. Other Apple Pay virtual card apps like Boon does not accept Revolut for topping-up.

  6. Monese karti pasūtīju 04.04.19 un saņēmu to pastkastē Rēzeknē 08.04.19!
    Telefonā apple pay iestatīšana pēc Dāvja instrukcijas elementāra. Viss izdevās ātri un ar pirmo piegājienu. Apple pay darbojas! Paldies Dāvim un Kristapam par norādi! Visiem veiksmi!

  7. Should also mention which iPhones have NFC system built in.
    Here’s an article about it and a list of all iPhone models in case you want to update your article. I assume that it is not possible to pay with iPhone 5 or iPhone SE according to the specification of the models (has anyone tried it?)

    Current NFC Enabled iPhones
    iPhone 6
    iPhone 6s
    iPhone 6s Plus
    iPhone 7
    iPhone 7 Plus
    iPhone 8
    iPhone 8 Plus
    iPhone X
    iPhone Xr
    iPhone XS
    iPhone XS Max

  8. I just want to thank you for the instructions and to let you know that Apple pay with Monese card is also working in Croatia. The card took 10 days to arrive in Zagreb. I set up Apple pay according to Davis’ instructions, with the difference being that, I changed the region on my iPhone/Apple Watch and the country in Monese app to UK. Also, when I was setting up Apple pay on my iPhone, I was not asked to verify the Monese card, but only when I was setting it up on Apple Watch then I was given the option to verify the card by phone call, sms or email. Thanks again…

      1. Did you make the call? On my Apple Watch verification pass thru sms but for the iphone they give me only the phone call 🙂

  9. So if I would try to add a card from my country, in which Apple Pay isn’t available, I wouldn’t be able to?

  10. I’m unsure about top-up part. If I use a VISA debit card with Verified by VISA enable but the card was issued from a country which is not supported by Apple pay, will it work?
    I mean, will I able to top up Monese using that VISA debit card?
    anw, thanks for sharing.

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