Apple to Bring Contactless Payments to iPhone

Posted on February 8, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 24 Comments

Apple announced today that it will bring contactless payments to iPhone users in the United States later this year. The feature is called Tap to Pay.

“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,” Apple’s vice president Jennifer Bailey says. “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.”

Tap to Pay will require an iPhone XS or newer—basically, a supported iPhone that includes NFC—a future version of iOS, and a third-party app of some kind. Stripe is already on board, as one might expect, and other payment systems are expected to sign up by launch. They’d be crazy not to: today, systems like Stripe require a phone dongle or dedicated device to accept in-person payments. Now, all a merchant will need is their iPhone.

The checkout process looks to be about as seamless as one might expect: the merchant will just prompt the customer to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay, their contactless credit or debit card, or another digital wallet near the merchant’s iPhone. Then, the payment will be securely completed using NFC.

Apple notes that Apple Pay is already accepted at over 90 percent of U.S. retailers, but with this new capability, virtually any business, of any size, will be able to securely accept contactless payments. Tap to Pay on iPhone is coming to Apple Store locations in the U.S. later this year as well.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Apple to Bring Contactless Payments to iPhone”

  1. crunchyfrog

    And yet, Android users are left flapping in the wind. If Apple really wants to take over the world (which they don't) they would have services like this available to all users so they can participate. They're terrified that they'll sell fewer iPhones, but I don't see that as an outcome, just paranoia.

    • spacein_vader

      Eh? Android pay already works like this, at least in the UK/EU.

    • Stabitha.Christie

      Huh? How are Android users flapping in the wind? the iPhone will be able to take wireless payments from Android phones that support NFC payments. Are you suggesting Apple should also make software for Android OS that facilitates wireless payments? Seems like that is more Google's responsibility.

  2. dftf

    I think the unique thing Apple is doing here is simply allowing consumers / "home users" to accept card-payments via NFC.

    When it comes to businesses or professionals, a number of apps on Android already allow you to receive payment via NFC. Just some other examples I've found:

    "Charge - Accept Credit Card Payments via Stripe"

    "myPOS Glass"

    "Nomod - Point of Sale (POS)"



    (Have to say, I'm surprised that the PayPal app doesn't currently offer such functionality.)

    • Jeffsters

      Charge, also available on the iPhone, doesn’t do contactless payments. I stopped there.

      • Ivan X

        The comments for the link provided for Charge (Android version) suggest that it supports NFC payments.

      • dftf

        In the bulletpoints for the Charge app it literally says it lets the user "Accept most major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover & more". It doesn't appear from any of the detail you have to own a Bluetooth-connected Stripe card-reader, so it sounds like this is via NFC.

    • Chris_Kez

      The unique thing Apple is doing is allowing the iPhone to be used as a contactless payment receiver. Whether this will be applicable to everyday users is unclear at this point-- I presume they would still need some kind of account with a payment processor, and at that point I'm not sure this would be a feature for "everyone"; the Apple statement clearly points to this as a feature for merchants.

    • nbplopes

      Yes … this is the feature that makes Apple approach unique at the moment. It basically turns any iPhone into a payment machine, closing the loop with the support of reading credit and debit cards.

      • nbplopes

        I meant, turning the iPhone into a POS.

        • nbplopes

          I find this technology of using an smartphone as a credit and debit cards read a security hazard by the way. Who is to say that the app is not storing my PINs in the case of Android?

          It looks like Apple has this thing covered.

  3. dftf

    As someone in the UK, I've definitely been in small, indie restaurant and cafés where they have accepted contactless credit-card payments on an Android phone, so apps for it clearly do exist, but as they are business-focused, not consumer-focused, we're probably all just not that aware of them.

    A quick search in the Google Play Store though and I did find one called tap2go, which says it allows "[...] any Android smartphone with [an] NFC module [in] the terminal [to accept] contactless payments with bank cards and Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay [...]", so at-least one does exist. (I'm sure I've seen others advertised in ads on YouTube before-now, too.)

  4. Chris_Kez

    To be clear, Apple will be enabling merchants to accept "Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets through a simple tap to their iPhone — no additional hardware or payment terminal needed."

    • dftf

      This app would appear to do the same for Android users:

    • dashrender

      Exactly - accept ApplePay payments - not any NFC payments.

      • wright_is

        Did you actually read what Chris wrote? It will accept Apple Pay or contactless (NFC) credit and debit cards and other wallets (NFC)...

      • Stabitha.Christie

        ""Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets"

        There is a comma after ApplePay. The other three things mentioned are all NFC payments not ApplePay. It accepts NFC payments.

  5. tonchek

    Works reall nice on my Android...

    • bhofer

      Oh really? Tell me more... This is about your phone receiving NFC payments without needing a dongle like we see today. I think you're confusing yourself with the ability to send NFC payments. iPhones have been able to make NFC payments for years too, but will soon be able to receive them as well...

      • dftf

        This app already allows you to receive contactless payments from debit and credit cards, and from Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay on Android devices with NFC:

        (There is also one called MyCard by "Road Dogs Software", but it's unclear from the description if it uses the built-in NFC, or if you have to purchase an NFC-dongle that goes in the headphone-jack.)

  6. nbplopes

    This already exists in Android. Its provided by third party digital services … not Google.

    On the iPhone, where I live we use a service called MBWay. We don’t even it to be contactless, just an Internet connection. The merchant is provided with the phone number of the payer … a notification is sent to the phone of the payer … the app opens for approval and that is it.

    The benefit of contactless is that there is no need to exchange phone number to this effect. So less personal data is required for the workflow to work … just data for billing and payment purposes is sent I suppose.