Apple Launches iPhone Tap-to-Pay as Payment Acceptance Tool for Merchants
  • Apple launched its Tap to Pay capability enabling merchants to accept payments via iPhone
  • Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer the new Tap to Pay functionality.
  • The new solution will compete with Block’s Square, PayPal’s contactless QR code payment offering, and others

Rumors circulated about the launch of a contactless payment acceptance tool for iPhone a few weeks ago. Today, the news is no longer a rumor; Apple confirmed the details.

The tech giant announced plans to launch Tap to Pay on iPhone, a new capability that lets merchants use their iPhone to accept Apple Pay, contactless payment cards, and other digital wallets by tapping it to their iPhone. The new payment tool will be available as a service. Apple will allow payment platforms and app developers to integrate the new contactless payment capability into their iOS apps for business customers.

“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 Apple’s Vice President of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet Jennifer Bailey. “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 leverages NFC technology to enable customers to pay by holding their iPhone, Apple Watch, contactless credit or debit card, or other digital wallet near the merchant’s iPhone, to complete a purchase in person. Once the technology becomes available, merchants simply need to unlock the capability on their iPhone; no additional hardware is necessary.

Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay. The fintech will offer the payment technology to its merchant customers via its new Shopify app. Additional payment platforms will be added later this year. “Whether you’re a salesperson at an internet-first retailer or an individual entrepreneur, you can soon accept contactless payments on a device that’s already in your pocket: your iPhone,” said Stripe Chief Business Officer Billy Alvarado. “With Tap to Pay on iPhone, millions of businesses using Stripe can enhance their in-person commerce experience by offering their customers a fast and secure checkout.”

The new payment acceptance tool is a direct competitor to the multiple merchant acceptance solutions that launched over a decade ago, including Block’s Square, which launched its card reading dongle in May of 2010, and PayPal, which launched its contactless QR code payment technology in 2020.

Despite this well-established competition, Apple still has more than a fighting chance to gain traction with Tap to Pay. That’s because not only is it hardware-free, it is also virtually friction-free for customers, and doesn’t require shoppers to download a new app or change their existing habits. Additionally, because it is an Apple product, we can count on it to build a customer-first user interface.