How To Set Up and Use Apple Cash Family

Easily Share Cash Among Family Members

An Apple Cash Family user checks her account.

Oscar Wong / Getty Images


If your kids have ever asked you for money, taking out cash on a revolving basis might not be your idea of a good time. If your kids are young, you may not want to get them a credit or debit card. But if you have Apple devices, you can set up Apple Cash Family.

What Is Apple Cash Family?

Apple Cash Family lets parents and kids send and receive money and make purchases through Apple Cash. The feature integrates the Family Sharing and Apple Cash features Apple offers through its devices.

Family Sharing allows a family unit of up to six people to share App Store purchases and iCloud storage. Instead of using one login with multiple devices and many different people, Family Sharing lets you set up permissions for kids and give them their own logins. You can approve things like screen time, app purchases, and downloads.

The person who sets up Family Sharing is the “family organizer.” As the family organizer, you can invite family members through their Apple IDs to join your Family Sharing plan before setting up Apple Cash Family.

Apple Cash is a cash-management account that can send and receive money through the Messages app, and it’s a payment option when you use Apple Pay. If you connect your card to a bank account, you can transfer money to and from your Apple Cash card when you need it.

Apple Cash Family brings these two features together to provide a way for parents to send money to their kids in a monitored account. 

How Do You Set Up Apple Cash Family?

If you’re ready to move to Apple Cash Family, you’ll need to complete a few steps first.

Make Sure Devices Are Compatible

To use Apple Cash Family, each family member must have an Apple Pay-compatible device, which include:

  • iPhones with Touch ID (except iPhone 5s) and Face ID
  • All iPad models with Touch ID or Face ID
  • Apple Watch (Series 1 and 2 or later) and first-generation Apple Watches
  • Macs with Touch ID, 2012 models or later

The minimum OS requirements for devices on Apple Cash Family is iOS 11.2 and watchOS 4.2 or later.

Set Up Family Sharing

The family organizer sets up Family Sharing by tapping Settings and then Family Sharing on mobile devices, or by clicking Family Sharing in your Mac’s System Preferences menu.

Once you set up Family Sharing, all family members will need to sign into their devices with their own Apple ID, then turn on two-factor authentication

Since Apple Cash Family is only available in the U.S., each family member will need to set their region to the United States.

At least one person in your Apple Cash Family group must be under 18.

Set Up Apple Cash for Kids

If you’re the family organizer, go to Settings, tap your name up top and then select Family Sharing.

From there, select Apple Cash, then choose the family member you want to add. Select Set Up Apple Cash and follow the instructions on your screen to complete the process.

Once you’re done, Family Sharing and Apple Cash will be integrated, and your Apple Cash Family will be ready to go.

Only the family organizer can set up Apple Cash Family, and the same Apple ID that sets up Family Sharing must be used to set up Apple Cash Family.

How Do You Use Apple Cash Family?

Once you add your family to your Apple Cash Family, you can manage Apple Cash for everyone through your Wallet.

Open your Wallet app and tap the Apple Cash card. Tap the more button (the three-dot icon) and then scroll down to your child’s name. From here, you have access to a variety of tools that help you monitor and regulate your child’s spending, including:

  • Checking their transactions
  • Sending money
  • Locking their Apple Cash access
  • Choosing whom they can send money to (family members, contacts, or everyone)
  • Getting notifications when they make a transaction

If you’re a parent who isn’t the organizer but part of the family group, you can still see your child’s transactions and balance but can’t change their permissions and access.

Kids and teens can use Apple Cash similar to the way adults do: for purchases online, in stores, and through apps that support Apple Cash. Kids age 13 and older can also send and receive money through Messages.

Pros and Cons of Apple Cash Family

  • Controlled access to money

  • Check child’s transactions and cash

  • Teaches kids a little bit about money

  • Only available in the U.S.

  • Not every merchant accepts Apple Pay

Pros Explained

  • Controlled access to money: Instead of kids carrying around cash and credit cards (possibly your credit cards), they have money in their phone. If they ever lose it or it gets stolen, hackers will have a hard time getting through with two-factor authentication. You can remove access at any time, limit where they send money, and how they spend it.
  • Check child’s transactions and cash: You can see where your kid is spending money, whom they’re sending money to, and get notifications every time your child makes a transaction.
  • Teaches kids a little bit about money: Consider Apple Cash like your child’s virtual piggy bank. If they earn an allowance, you can keep it in Apple Cash and they can spend it how they please. They’ll learn that when the money's gone, it’s gone. While it’s not the same as physically spending money and having empty pockets, seeing an empty account is impactful, even for adults.

Cons Explained

  • Only available in the U.S.: If you have relatives or family members who live abroad, they won’t be able to participate in Apple Cash Family.
  • Not every merchant accepts Apple Cash: While you can use Apple Cash for Apple-specific products and services (like the App Store and Apple Music, for example), you can also use it at millions of stores. With that said, not every store accepts Apple Pay. If you have stores you frequent and want to use Apple Cash, check to see if they accept it first and have a backup payment method just in case.

Alternatives to Apple Cash Family

While Apple Cash Family is a great option if you already have Apple devices, it might not be right for your family. There are plenty of mobile payment apps to try, including:

  • Cash App
  • Venmo
  • Zelle
  • Google Pay app
  • PayPal
  • Facebook Pay

These apps are good options for sending and receiving money, but they don’t have the capacity to monitor transactions and lock accounts. Samsung Pay also has a version of a Wallet for some of its devices but don’t offer a family plan like Apple Cash Family.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Cash Family is great for Apple families where everyone already has iPhones, iPads, or Watches.
  • You can set up your family through your iPhone or Mac and, as long as you’re the family organizer, you can manage your child’s account.
  • Apple Cash Family can teach your child about responsible spending and limits their physical cash and credit card usage.
  • Not every merchant and store accepts Apple Pay, which could limit your family’s Apple Cash usage.

Article Sources

  1. Apple Support. "Set Up Apple Cash."

  2. Apple Support. "Set Up and Use Apple Cash Family."