What You Need to Know About Apple Pay's Monday Launch

PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple Pay product during an event at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif. PlayMarcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
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Get ready to tap your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus everywhere to pay for groceries or that burger in the McDonald's drive-thru.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today that Apple Pay -- the company's mobile payments system -- will launch in the United States on Monday with an iOS 8.1 update.

The service will also work on the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 devices, which were unveiled today at a media event in Cupertino.

"The reaction to Apple Pay has been amazing. We continue to add more Apple Pay ready banks, credit card companies and merchants, and think our users will love paying with Apple Pay," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a statement.

A demonstration of the mobile wallet last month suggested that if it catches on, it could be a credit card killer. All users have to do is position their iPhone near a payment point at a store, hold their finger on their Touch ID and they're good to go. A vibration and a beep will let users know the transaction was successful. There's no need to do anything else.

With Apple Pay, Apple and merchants don't see or store any of your private information. Instead, users take a photo of their credit card and add it to their phone's Passbook, where it is assigned an unique device account number, encrypted and stored in the phone's Secure Element Chip. When it's time to make a purchase, the device account number and a dynamic security code are used to complete the transaction. Apple will never know what you purchased, the company said, and you'll still get rewards points on the credit cards you use.

If a device is misplaced or lost, users can go to Find My iPhone where they can put the device in "lost mode" or wipe it completely -- making sure their private information never falls into the wrong hands.

Apple Pay is available at some of the biggest retailers and restaurants in the U.S., including Macy's, McDonald's and Whole Foods.