Apple is working on a new feature to allow iPhone users to accept payments via contactless technology, Bloomberg reported. The contactless payment feature will cut out the need for intermediate hardware. The system is likely to use near field communications (NFC) technology similar to the one used by Apple Pay.
The new system could be a boon for small businesses, which would be able to accept payments using an iPhone without any external, third-party hardware. More often than not, this hardware comes from financial services company Square, which sells payment terminals for iPhones and iPads.
Apple, by integrating the tap-to-pay technology into the iPhone directly, using the built-in NFC chip, will be able to leapfrog Square’s hardware. The feature is also likely to work with Apple Pay — users can 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,” Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman wrote.
Apple could start rolling out the feature via a software feature in the next few months, likely with the iOS 15.4 update. Apple has just released the iOS 15.3 update for the general public, so beta testing could soon begin for iOS 15.4.
“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,” Gurman wrote.
Apple’s efforts to launch the feature come after acquiring Mobeewave in 2020 for nearly $100 million. Mobeewave had billed itself as a way to seamlessly accept card payments with a tap on the phone.