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Apple takes on Square with Tap to Pay for iPhones

Apple today announced plans to turn hundreds of millions of iPhones into portable card readers with its new Tap to Pay initiative. This is a feature rolling out later this year in the U.S, enabling iPhones to accept payments over Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods with the same ease of use as one would a regular terminal. The company is opening this up with Stripe and Shopify integration this spring.

“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 release today. “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.”

“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 Billy Alvarado, Stripe’s chief business officer. “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.”

While Apple has not yet given a time frame for this feature to become available other than later this year, it may come in a patch to iOS 15 as the company references a spring integration with Shopify’s point of sales app.

Once this is made available, it will mean iPhones from the iPhone XS up will be able to replace Square terminals (or other alternatives) in small businesses and individual traders. It will also help increase demand and provide a second life for older iPhones, with those models now being able to be used as point-of-sale devices.

More interestingly, Apple is actually opening up the NFC chip of the iPhone to third-party developers. It’s small in the grand scheme of things, but coming after threats of an EU investigation into Apple’s handling of Apple Pay and its associated NFC chip, it does make the company look more reactive than its press release would have you believe.

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