Here's Our First Look At Apple's Tap To Pay In Action

Apple introduced a tap-to-pay system in February that enables contactless payment between two iPhones, essentially turning the phones into contactless payment terminals. The system is yet to go live commercially, but the company is already running a full-fledged soak test of the tech at its Apple Park visitor center in Cupertino. A Twitter user shared a video from the retail outlet at Apple's headquarters showcasing the iPhone tap-to-pay feature in action.

In the video, a customer can be seen making an Apple Pay payment by simply touching their iPhone against another iPhone held by an Apple staffer. Apple's solution aims to remove the hassle of managing a payment terminal from the equation for everyone from small businesses to large-scale retailers. In addition to Apple Pay, the tap-to-pay system will also facilitate contactless payment for debit/credit cards and other wallet solutions as well.

Stripe is among the first companies to engage in the commercial adoption of Apple's payment solution, and by the end of 2022, it will witness support from third-party apps like Shopify Point of Sale. The feature is currently in the beta-testing phase and will be available on the iPhone X and its successors. Moreover, the tap-to-pay feature will eventually make its way to wearable devices as well, allowing users to make Apple Pay payments by tapping their smartwatch against the merchant's iPhone.

A controversial convenience

With Tap to Pay for iPhones, Apple is going after established players in the game such as Square, which offers contactless payment hardware and services to a diverse clientele. Even though it's hard to predict if the wide release of Apple's solution can trigger a dramatic industry-wide change, the product definitely has attracted antitrust scrutiny prior to its international rollout.

EU regulators have already targeted Apple for abusing its dominant position in the contactless payments market by limiting competitors from accessing the NFC chips inside iPhones and keeping it exclusive to Apple Pay. Apple, on the other hand, has denied the allegations and claims that it has ensured a fair playing ground for everyone when it comes to NFC functionality access. Tap to Pay on iPhones already has a tinge of problematic exclusivity to it and it is poised to draw more anti-competitive scrutiny.

Apple wrote in its official announcement post that contactless payment via Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available "through a supporting iOS app." That means rival merchants and financial institutions such as PayPal, Square, Chase, and American Express can't create their own payments app with a different user interface and set of features for offering the iPhone-to-iPhone contactless payment facility. And the reason for doing so is most likely because Apple wants to charge a fee for transactions made via its payments services and products.