Apple to let merchants accept contactless payments on iPhones?

Apple may soon enable merchants to accept contactless payments on their iPhone without needing to connect their device to a separate payment terminal or other additional hardware, according to reports.

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The addition of contactless payments acceptance would be “likely” to use the NFC chip in NFC-enabled iPhones and could be made available to users through a software update “in the coming months”.

“[Apple] has been working on the new feature since around 2020, when it paid about US$100m for a Canadian startup called Mobeewave that developed technology for smartphones to accept payments with the tap of a credit card,” Bloomberg says, citing sources “with knowledge of the matter”.

“The system will likely use the iPhones near field communications, or NFC, chip that is currently used for Apple Pay.

“In order to accept payments on an iPhone today, merchants need to use payment terminals that plug in or communicate with the phone via Bluetooth.

“The upcoming feature will instead turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, letting users such as food trucks and hair stylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their device.”

It is not clear whether the feature will be branded as part of Apple Pay or whether Apple plans to launch it alone or in partnership with existing payment networks, Bloomberg says.

Samsung began rolling out NFC phone-based contactless payments acceptance on its Android devices in partnership with Mobeewave in October 2019, before the startup’s acquisition by Apple.

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