Apple has announced it is rolling out a new feature on its smartphones that will allow businesses to use their devices to accept payments. It will be contactless and does not require extra hardware to function.
We have been suspecting Apple was doing something about payments since it acquired Canadian startup Mobeewave. The startup was building technology for turning smartphones into contactless payment terminals and had even rolled out for Samsung before being bought by Apple. However, Apple has finally confirmed what we have been thinking all along.
Tap to Pay will take payments from contactless credit and debit cards and other digital wallets.
Apple has just released the API inside iOS 14.5 beta 2, so you can’t use the method to make or accept payments yet. However, recent models of the iPhone will likely be able to use the feature. Tap to Pay requires NFC and even though some older models have NFC, they are missing from the list of compatible devices for now, at least.
If you are concerned with whether Apple will track your purchases, the company has said it doesn’t know what you are paying for or who is making the purchase.
According to information provided to The Verge, Tap to Pay will support all EMV contactless payment methods, which will include Google Pay. Apple Stores in the US will start using Tap to Pay this year.
To use Tap to Pay to accept payment, merchants will have to work with compatible payment processors, including Stripe, which will be the first to be set up. The payment company will add the feature to its Shopify app later this year. Other payment platforms will follow, including apps.
The merchant will “unlock contactless payment acceptance through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or later device.” The merchant will then prompt the customer to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the merchant’s iPhone and the payment will be completed securely through NFC.
Apple expects millions of small-scale businesses to jump on Tap to Pay as it is secure and easy to use. The feature will work with contactless credit and debit cards from leading payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa.
Commenting on Tap to Pay, Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s VP of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet said, “As more and more consumers are tapping to pay with digital wallets and credit cards, Tap to Pay on iPhone will provide businesses with a secure, private, and easy way to accept contactless payments and unlock new checkout experiences using the power, security, and convenience of iPhone. In collaboration with payment platforms, app developers, and payment networks, we’re making it easier than ever for businesses of all sizes — from solopreneurs to large retailers — to seamlessly accept contactless payments and continue to grow their business.”
“Whether you’re a salesperson at an internet-first retailer or an individual entrepreneur, you can soon accept contactless payments on a device that’s already in your pocket: your iPhone,” said Billy Alvarado, Stripe’s chief business officer. “With Tap to Pay on iPhone, millions of businesses using Stripe can enhance their in-person commerce experience by offering their customers a fast and secure checkout.”
Apple says Apple Pay is already accepted by more than 90 percent of retailers in the US.