iOS 14 could allow Apple Pay users to pay up by scanning QR codes or barcodes

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QR codes
That's a whole lot of QR codes.
Photo: Thomas Leuthard/Flickr

iOS 14 will allow users to make payments using QR codes with Apple Pay, a hidden feature in the Wallet app discovered by 9to5Mac suggests.

While the feature isn’t functional yet, it will allow users to point their iPhone camera at a QR code or barcode in order to pay bills. Apple didn’t make any mention of it at WWDC 2020, but that could potentially be transformative for scan-as-you-go shopping and other scenarios.

9to5Mac notes that:

“The opposite would also work, with users holding the iPhone in front of a scanner with a QR Code generated by the Wallet app. We can also say that there will be some kind of interaction with third-party apps, as this code was found in a public system API.”

It’s easy to see how a feature like this could be very exciting when it comes to mobile payments. If I’m reading this right, it’s the kind of technology that could be brilliant for allowing customers to do scan-as-they-go shopping in places like supermarkets. It could also be great for scenarios such as high speed food service restaurants, where different menu items could have their own codes.

QR codes already play an increased role in iOS 14, courtesy of App Clips. App Clips let users load a lightweight version of an app by scanning a QR code or opening a link. As my colleague Killian previously wrote:

“There are lots of situations in which this might be useful. You might use it to load a menu or pay for your order in a restaurant, or to rent a bicycle in a new city. App Clips are less than 10MB in size, and only load features you really need.”

How will this new QR code payment system work in iOS 14? Is this going to be the next great Apple Pay feature? We’ll have to wait and see. It certainly sounds promising, though.