What is Apple Tap to Pay and how can iPhones use it to accept payments?

(Pocket-lint) – Apple has quietly introduced a new feature called Tap to Pay on iPhone. It allows compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets. But the best part is there’s no additional hardware required. Here is everything you need to know about Tap to Pay.

What is Tap to Pay on iPhone?

In February 2022, Apple announced plans to roll out Tap to Pay on iPhone. It essentially allows you to use mobile devices as a payment terminal. It’s believed Apple’s acquisition of startup Mobeewave is the basis of this technology. The feature supports payments from Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets. 

Tap to Pay is notable because, previously, businesses that accepted contactless payments on an iPhone needed to use additional third-party hardware such as the Square Reader dongle.

How does Tap to Pay on iPhone work?

For now, it’s limited to businesses and merchants that wish to accept contactless payment through supported iOS apps using an iPhone XS or newer. At checkout, a business will prompt you to hold your own iPhone or Apple Watch, contactless credit or debit card, or another digital wallet near the merchant’s iPhone, and then the payment will be securely completed using NFC technology.

In other words, according to Apple, all merchants will need in the future is their iPhones in order to accept and process payments.

Which businesses support Tap to Pay on iPhone?

Stripe has announced it’ll be the first payment platform to offer “Tap to Pay on iPhone” to their business customers, including the Shopify Point of Sale app, in spring 2022. Additional payment platforms and apps will follow later in the year, according to Apple. Apple Stores in the US will also roll out the feature sometime in 2022.

When will Tap to Pay on iPhone be available?

The feature will launch in the US later in 2022. It appears to be exclusive to the US at launch, with no other countries announced.

Which iPhone models support Tap to Pay?

Although Tap to Pay isn’t ready for you to use yet – the supporting API is available in the iOS 15.4 beta 2 (learn how to install that here), potentially enabling the feature on iPhone XS and later models.

There are older iPhones with NFC – but, for now, the iPhone 6, 7, and 8 models are not on the compatible list. 

Want to know more?

Check out Pocket-lint’s guide on Apple Pay for more about how the digital wallet works.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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