Apple developing new iOS feature to let iPhones to accept NFC payments with tap-to-pay

Apple is developing a new feature that would allow iPhone users to accept credit card payments via contactless technology without any extra hardware, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The report explains that Apple’s system is likely to use NFC technology similar to Apple Pay.

As it stands today, small businesses that wish to accept payments using an iPhone are required to use external, third-party hardware. Oftentimes, this hardware comes from the financial services company Square, which sells multiple different payment terminals for iPhone and iPad devices.

Apple would be able to leapfrog Square’s hardware by integrating tap-to-pay terminal technology directly into the iPhone using its built-in NFC chip. This means small businesses would be able to accept tap-to-pay payments without any external hardware. The feature would also seemingly work with Apple Pay, allowing users to tap their iPhone onto the back of another iPhone to make a payment.

The upcoming feature will instead turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, letting users such as food trucks and hair stylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their device. 

It’s unclear whether the payment acceptance option will be branded as part of Apple Pay, though the team working on the feature has been working within Apple’s payments division since being brought over from Mobeewave, the people said. It’s also not known if Apple intends to partner with an existing payment network for the feature or launch it alone. 

According to today’s report, Apple could begin rolling out this feature via a software feature “in the coming months,” perhaps as soon as with iOS 15.4. Apple today released iOS 15.3 to the general public, so iOS 15.4 beta testing is expected to begin sooner rather than later.

As today’s report from Bloomberg points out, Apple’s internal efforts to launch this feature come after it acquired Mobeewave in 2020 for around $100 million. Prior to being acquired by Apple, Mobeewave billed itself as a way seamlessly accept credit card payments “with a tap on your phone.”

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