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Apple to launch contactless Tap to Pay on iPhone

The new feature will allow iPhone users, including small businesses, to accept contactless payments without any additional terminal hardware.

iPhone users will soon be able to accept contactless payments via Tap to Pay.

Apple will make it easier for iPhone users to accept contactless payments. Later this year, anyone using an iPhone in the US will be able to accept contactless payments via Tap to Pay, removing the need for any additional terminal hardware.

iPhone users will be able to "seamlessly and securely accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets through a simple tap to their iPhone — no additional hardware or payment terminal needed," Apple said Tuesday. Payment platforms and app developers will also be able to integrate the payment feature into their iOS apps.

Online payments processor Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to its business customers, including the Shopify Point of Sale app this spring, Apple said. Tap to Pay on iPhone will work with contactless credit and debit cards from all the major payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa. The contactless payment feature will also become available at US Apple stores later this year.

With the announcement, Apple takes a decisive step toward encouraging more iPhone users to adopt Apple Pay at a time when the pandemic and new players are helping to make contactless payment options ubiquitous. While 90% of US retailers already accept Apple Pay, according to the company, a survey conducted by PTMNTS in September revealed that only 6% of users who have activated Apple Pay on their iPhones use it to pay for in-store purchases.

"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," said Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, in a statement.

The Tap to Pay contactless payment feature will be available through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or later device, the company said. At checkout, 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 any other digital wallet near the merchant's iPhone, and the payment will be securely completed using NFC technology. No additional hardware terminal will be needed.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment.