Apple has officially announced its contactless payments feature through iPhones, a move that could simplify and expand acceptance of in-person, phone-to-phone payments.
Tap to Pay on iPhone, the NFC-reading hardware feature and supporting software, will be available soon for developers to integrate into their services, the company said. Apple isn't involved in processing the payments and won't be able to read the card numbers customers transmit when tapping their phones or other NFC devices, like contactless chip cards. The service could make it easier for merchants to accept payments, since they could do so from an iPhone without needing any additional hardware.
Stripe will be the first payment company to offer the service, and will provide these payments for Shopify's point-of-sale app this spring. The move could also boost Shopify's efforts to offer more in-store payments and shopping services.
News of the pending launch was previously reported by Bloomberg. Though some jumped to characterize the feature as a "Square killer," Apple's payments feature only replaces the card readers Square provides, not a full-featured point-of-sale system or other business services. But it could enable Square competitors — like Stripe and Shopify — to compete more effectively for in-person retail transactions.