Apple announces ‘Tap to Pay’ feature that will allow iPhones to accept contactless payments

Apple has announced plans to introduce a new Tap to Pay feature for iPhone that turns the device into a contactless payment terminal. The company says that later this year, U.S. merchants will be able to accept Apple Pay and other contactless payments, including Google Pay, by using an iPhone and a partner-enabled iOS app.

The feature will be enabled for the iPhone XS and later models. Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps as a payment option for their customers. Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to customers through a new Shopify app. Apple says additional payment platforms and apps will follow later this year.

Once Tap to Pay on iPhone launches, merchants will be able to unlock contactless payment acceptance through a supporting iOS app. At checkout, the merchant will ask the customer to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the merchant’s iPhone and the payment will then be securely completed using NFC technology. No additional hardware is required to accept contactless payments. Apple also says that with Tap to Pay on iPhone, customers’ payment data is protected and that all transactions that are made through the feature are encrypted.

The company notes that Apple Pay is already accepted by more than 90% of U.S. retailers and that this new capability will allow customers to check out more seamlessly. Tap to Pay on iPhone will also roll out to Apple Store locations in the U.S. later this year. Apple plans to work closely with payment platforms and app developers to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to more merchants in the U.S. Tap to Pay on iPhone will work with contactless credit and debit cards from numerous payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa.

“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,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, in a statement.

Apple says Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available to participating payment platforms and their app developer partners in an upcoming iOS software beta.