Apple has officially announced plans to launch a Tap to Pay program for iPhone. Rolling out later this year across the U.S., the program aims to help businesses use iPhones as a point of sale system.
As you'd imagine, this program is all about accepting credit or debit cards stored on other iPhones or Apple Watches, (and even Apple Pay or physical contactless credit and debit cards with NFC chips), as a way of payment directly on an iPhone without the need for additional hardware or payment terminals. That's because Tap to Pay for iPhone is an app-level program that will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps and offer as a payment option to their business customers.
Stripe is up first as the first platform to offer the program to business customers via the Shopify Point of Sale app, and additional payment platforms will be coming later. Naturally, Apple is even planning to adopt it as a form of payment in Apple retail stores later this year.
The program works on all iPhones from the iPhone XS or later. So, when the customer checks out with Tap to Pay, the merchant will simply prompt the customer to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay, their contactless credit or debit card, or other digital wallets to pay for items. Payments are secured with NFC, and there's no extra hardware needed, saving small businesses money and cutting out the need to buy accessories like Square readers.
For those worried about privacy and Apple collecting data, Apple claims that the payment data is protected with the same technology like Apple Pay. All transactions are encrypted with Secure Element, and Apple does not know what's being purchased or who is buying.
Apple is working with credit and debit cards like American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa to ensure the program has a smooth rollout. It has plans to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to "millions of merchants" in the US.