Apple activates iPhone Tap to Pay for simple contactless payments

Apple has just announced that Tap to Pay is coming to the iPhone. This means that soon enough, you'll be able to pay for your groceries by simply tapping your iPhone against the merchant's phone. The company plans to make this feature accessible all throughout the U.S., including both small businesses and large retailers, and will not require additional hardware — all it takes is just an iPhone.


The new Tap to Pay will accept contactless payments from credit and debit cards as well as various digital wallets. Apple has confirmed to The Verge that this feature will also support competitor wallets such as Google Pay, which should make it fairly accessible. Although it's still early days, Apple seems to have big plans for the technology and hopes to spread it to include more payment partners. The first platform to accept Apple's Tap to Pay on iPhone is going to be Stripe, and this will also include the Shopify Point of Sale app.

The feature is not out just yet, but once Apple rolls it out, merchants will be able to begin accepting contactless payments via their iPhones. In order to do so, users will have to download a supporting iOS app. Down the road, Apple plans to make it easy for potential payment platforms and app developers to integrate Apple Pay into their iOS apps.

Not everyone will be able to use Tap to Pay

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Apple reports that Apple Pay is already accepted by more than 90 percent of U.S. retailers. Tap to Pay on iPhone is an extension of the company's contactless payment program, making the feature more accessible without requiring a terminal. This could certainly put Apple ahead of the competition, but unsurprisingly, Tap to Pay is only going to be accessible to owners of newer iPhones.

The feature will be available starting with the iPhone XS through a yet-unreleased companion app. The XS was launched in September 2018, so the tech doesn't go too far back, but Apple tends to release iPhones frequently, so in terms of generations, there have been plenty of new iPhones since then.

The payments will be carried out via secure NFC technology and Apple promises that it will not store data about the purchases, so it will not know what was purchased or who bought it. In order to make a sale, merchants will simply have to prompt the customer to tap their own iPhone or Apple Watch with Apple Pay against the merchant's iPhone.

Tap to Pay will first be rolled out as part of an upcoming iOS software beta. Although Apple hasn't said when exactly we can expect to see the feature, it did state that Stripe will begin accepting such payments in the spring of 2022. This means that the possible Apple Pay revolution may be closer than we think.