With COVID-19 putting a restriction on physical contact, people and companies have been scrambling for ways to take things digital. This has given us virtual events, workplaces, banking and hospital services, classrooms, and others. Contactless payments had been around before the pandemic struck, but it was COVID-19 that gave it a massive push.
Apple is not a new name to the digital payments scene. Its mobile payment and digital service wallet service Apple Pay has been around since 2014 and is today accepted by over 90% of US retailers.
Now, iPhones can become point-of-sale terminals without any additional hardware, thanks to Apple’s new Tap to Pay on iPhone feature. The Cupertino giant announced its plans to roll out the feature, which will facilitate contactless payments and allow accepting Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets – all through iPhones, and will not need any additional hardware either.
Apple added that the Tap to Pay on iPhone feature will be made available to participating payment platforms and their app developer partners to leverage in their software developer kits (SDKs) in an upcoming iOS software beta.
This feature has been in the making ever since Apple had acquired Mobeewave (a startup that focussed on building this technology) in 2020.
For now, the titan will work closely with leading payment platforms and app developers across the payments and commerce industry to offer the feature to millions of merchants in the US. We do not know when it will roll out worldwide, but Apple plans to roll out the feature to Apple Store locations in the US later this year.
According to Apple, this feature will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps and offer as a payment option to their business customers. For now, Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to their business customers and will be followed by other payment platforms and apps later this year.
One of the best things about the feature is that it ensures privacy. The Tap to Pay on iPhone feature ensures that the payment data of customers is protected. All transactions that will be made using the feature will be encrypted and processed using the Secure Element, and Apple will not know what you are buying (or who is buying it).
Merchants can unlock contactless payment acceptance through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or a later device. If you are wondering how the feature works, the answer has been provided by Apple. At checkout, the customer has to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the merchant’s iPhone, and the payment will then be securely completed using NFC technology.