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.