Apple Pay offers a little known feature called ‘Express Transit‘, allowing you to use Apple Pay at transport readers without needing to authenticate with Touch ID, Face ID or double pressing the side button on your Apple Watch.
As previously rumoured, Apple has brought support for setting an existing EMV payment card (a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express) for ‘Express Travel’ – if you don’t have an existing travel card like Suica, or a Hop Fastpass card, your payment card will be used with supporting transit agencies.
Currently, as of May 2019, the only supported transit agency supporting EMV Express Transit is Trimet in Portland, however hopefully this expands to other agencies that support EMV payments, like the Opal/TfNSW network in Sydney, Australia, or the TfL network in London, UK.
Setting up Express Transit with a payment card is super easy, but first up – you’ll need an iPhone 6s or newer, and have it running at least iOS 12.3.
Scroll down and tap Wallet & Apple Pay.
Select Express Travel Pass.
A list of your existing payment cards will show, with the None option set by default. Select a card.
You will need to authenticate, your card will be ‘updated’, which can take a minute or two.
The steps are similar on your Apple Watch – make sure you’re running the latest watchOS 5.2.1, open ‘Watch‘ on your iPhone, scroll to ‘Wallet & Apple Pay‘ and follow the same steps as described above.
As mentioned above, support is currently limited to TriMet in Portland, but hopefully more agencies come onboard soon.
You can see the list of officially supported agencies at Apple Support.