One December 2nd, Apple haphazardly released iOS 11.2 in order to prevent iPhones from crashing due to the date crash bug. Since the operating system was supposed to release later and introduce Apple Pay Cash at launch, Apple failed to clarify that the Apple Pay Cash feature will still be activated at later date. So while users were running Apple Pay Cash supported iOS version, they couldn’t use the service until Apple enables it from the backend.
This lead to lots of confused customers who read the release notes and were expecting to be able to start using Apple Pay Cash after updating their iPhones. Now 2 days after the update Apple has finally made Apple Pay Cash feature available to all US users, who can now set up Apple Pay Cash on their iPhone and start using it to send and receive money to friends using iMessage.
The feature is rolling out gradually to users and it may still take some time before it is available for everyone.
If you want to use Apple Pay Cash with your Apple Watch, then you will have to install watchOS 4.2 update on it, which is expected to get released later this week.