The Milan metro system has now rolled out contactless terminals across its underground subways, supporting Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards. Importantly, the same NFC terminals also work with Apple Pay — note the turnstiles do not bear Apple Pay branding.
Similar to travelling around the London Underground network, this means Apple users can simply tap their devices on the terminals on entry and exit.
The standards-based system means it will work with any Apple Watch or iPhone 6 and later. You just need the payment card added to the Wallet app ahead of your journey. 18 Italian banks currently support Apple Pay, launching just over a year ago.
A handy tip for anyone wanting to get around with Apple Pay without causing a fuss is to authenticate Apple Pay as you approach the gate. Doing it in advance helps remove the awkwardness of holding up other people if your fingerprint or face isn’t recognised first time, for instance.
iPhone X users are trained to auth by double-clicking the side button first. On iPhone 8 and earlier models, you can simply double-click the home button to bring up the Wallet interface from the lock screen. You can then authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID before you reach the contactless terminal. Then, you simply tap the device on the subway gate when you are at the front of the queue.
Apple Watch probably offers the best experience — as it can detect that the watch has not left your skin, you don’t need to authenticate each time. Simply double-click the side button to bring up the Wallet interface and hold near the contactless terminal to pay.
That being said, there are currently some gotchas to look out for with the Milan service. Contactless is only available on journeys that start on the underground, and you have to ensure to use the same device on entry and exit. Nevertheless, it is possible to travel the full metropolitan network as ATM guarantee that all stations have at least one turnstile with contactless capabilities. Read up on all the terms and finer details on this page.
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