Apple iCloud Payment Methods - A tale of Woe

I have the 200GB iCloud account (for $2.99 a month) which has been regularly charged to my Visa card without any problems. Starting in June, I got an email from Apple saying that there was a problem with my payment information and it had to be corrected or they would downgrade to the 5 GB version. I was sure my card was correct - iCloud had been charged to that card since February, I was buying apps with that card, and the card was linked to Apple Pay.

I called Apple support and the agent looked at my account and said all was fine - she could see no problems. OK. The next day I got another email from Apple (same as before). This time I went into settings, added a new Visa card that I knew was good; this made the new card the default payment method. I then deleted the original Visa, and added it back (as a secondary payment method). I called Apple support to make sure I had fixed any problems. This agent (you get a different person every time) said that she could see the two Visa cards on one screen, and the Visa card that had “expired” last February on another screen and she had no idea why. The call got disconnected and she didn’t call back. The next day I called again, and this agent said “it takes 24-48 hours for changes to update in their databases, so just wait”. It has been 48 hours, and guess what? Another email from Apple.

The other odd thing is that I can see the two Visa cards in settings on iOS, but on the Mac I can only see the “expired” Visa card. If I try to log on with my ID, it refuses to let me in. (This card had been updated and worked fine for February, March, April, and May - but failed in June.)

The Apple agents apparently have very limited view into the payment system - I asked if the second agent could process the payment and see what error messages showed up - but she said “they don’t let us do that”.

I didn’t get another email from Apple today, but the status hasn’t changed. Any suggestions on how to proceed? My Apple Developer friend suggested sending emails to Apple executives (I know Cook is not going to read these emails, but he must have a fleet of assistants look at them). I also understand that sometimes you can complain on Twitter in Apple Support threads and get some action. I am planning to call again and ask that the issue be escalated.

I have backed up all my iCloud documents and all my photos, but the first two agents promised not to cancel my account - but it is not a good situation.


I expect you did so, but did you verify the address the email came from to see if it was a real apple address or phishing?

Don’t have a helpful suggestion for you, other than I had the same thing happen to me about 2-3 months ago. After a couple of days, I added a different card, and the messages stopped after another day or so. Seems like there is a lag between the related systems, or something like that.

It has been several days, and the payment information on my Mac still shows the expired card from February. On iOS, it shows the new cards I loaded, but still says there are payment problems. I haven’t gotten any more email messages from Apple for a couple of days so there is that, The iCloud payment hasn’t been processed, though.


I used to get these kinds of issues. I then bought an apple store gift card which I use just for my apple subscriptions, iCloud, Applecare, etc., no more problems. When the gift card starts getting low I add money to it so there is never an issue.


I thought of that option but this morning I thought I could try the Web based Apple ID site - and was able to update the “expired” Visa card. I checked and Settings on the Mac no longer showed the expired message, and I just got a message from Citi that the $2.99 charge from Apple had been processed, so I guess I am OK now. But why does iOS show a different Visa card (the new card I loaded via iOS) than the Mac shows? Really weird. And none of the three Apple support agents suggested the Web Apple ID site, so that was not good.


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We top up using gift cards as well. There’s a VISA there but never touch it.

Be sure these Emails are actually from Apple and not phishing. Double check the actual sender and smtp source in the headers.

Oh, they were from Apple. (

I also got notices on my iPhone and my Macs that the payment information needed to be updated.

I do see the fake “you need to pay this bill” emails, but they are obviously fake and usually for companies I don’t do business with.


Just beware that such a from doesn’t really mean anything.

Any email from can be spoofed easily. In fact, I can send you an email claiming its from is right now. You have to look at the header information to determine the originating SMTP server is actually using an IP from a range Apple owns to be sure it’s actually coming Apple.

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As I said I also got message on my iPhone and Macs so there was no mystery.

What do you mean when you say “message”? e-mail or text? Both of those should show up on both iPhone and Mac and have the from address spoofed. @Simon is absolutely correct about needing to check the headers for it’s origin. I find it easiest to submit such e-mails to to sort it out.

Red icon on settings and the note the I needed to update my payment information. On both my iPhone and my two Macs.

I really don’t know what the issue here is - no reason to check header information - emails asked that I update my Apple payment information - not send money to anyone else. I updated the payment information on the Apple ID site - complete with logon via my Apple ID passwords.

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If the email included a link to click on, that would have been the issue. Since it sounds like you went independently to the Apple ID site, then you are correct in assuming the source of the email is not important.

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I ran into problems when my Visa card number changed, and I was unable to add the new card and make it default. So I swapped to using Paypal for my iCloud plan and have had no problems since. I also find that trying to even look at Payments and Purchases in the System Prefs pane on this 12.4 mac causes System Preferences to freeze and eventually it spits up an error message. Doing it on my iPhone works OK.

Yes, the email I got said to update my payment information on iOS or Mac OS… I got the update to work on iOS (but that didn’t affect the iCloud billing, even though the update was for my address that was being used for iCloud). And I never was able to update on my Macs - it just kept looping and asking for my password over and over again (same address). The only thing that worked for me was the Apple ID Web site.