iPhone could accept NFC credit card payments without additional hardware


iPhone credit card payments
Worrying news for companies like Square.
Mockup: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple is working to give iPhone the ability to accept contactless credit card payments over NFC without the need for additional hardware “in the coming months,” according to a new report.

You currently need a third-party credit card reader, like those made by Square, to use iPhone as a payment terminal. However, since iPhone 6 made it debut in 2014, Apple’s smartphone has been packing the NFC technology that’s needed.

iPhone could accept NFC credit card payments

Modern credit and debit cards in many countries now have integrated NFC chips that allow them to securely communicate with wireless payment terminals in much the same way your iPhone does when you use Apple Pay.

What’s different about iPhone is that it doesn’t just send data over NFC — it can also receive it. It has the capability to read credit cards and other NFC chips; Apple just hasn’t given it the ability to do that … yet.

That will change according to a new report from Bloomberg, which cites sources familiar with Apple’s plans who say Cupertino is working to give iPhone the ability to accept credit card payments without additional hardware.

“The upcoming feature will … turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, letting users such as food trucks and hair stylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their device,” the report reads.

A part of Apple Pay or something new?

“It’s unclear whether the payment acceptance option will be branded as part of Apple Pay, though the team working on the feature has been working within Apple’s payments division since being brought over from Mobeewave.”

It’s also not yet known if Apple plans to partner with an existing payment network to enable this feature — or if it will take care of everything in-house.

Accepting credit card payments on iPhone could be right around the corner. The sources say Apple plans to debut the technology “in the coming months,” perhaps with its next iOS 15.4 update, which is yet to enter beta testing.

That should mean that the feature will be open to a wider range of iPhone models, as opposed to being held back as an iPhone 14 exclusive.


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