Tap to Pay: merchant iPhones will be able to collect card payments

Apple has launched a feature to turn its iPhones into credit card readers. Called Tap to Pay, it will initially target small businesses that do not necessarily have the volume of business to justify paying for a bank terminal.

One more step in the world of payment for Apple. On February 8, the world's highest-rated company launched  its Tap to Pay feature , which promises to transform iPhones - from the XS model released in 2018 - into electronic payment terminals (TPE). It will initially be available only in the United States, where iPhones represent 47% of the market share, compared to 15% in France (and about the same in the world).

Currently, merchants must have a traditional payment terminal or a lighter system connected to a smartphone - such  as SumUp's thin white boxes - to accept bank cards. From this year in the United States, iPhone owners will be able to do without this equipment and simply use their iPhone as a bank card reader when cashing their customers. Several equivalent systems already exist on Android (Google), but Tap to Pay will be the first and only on iPhone, with Apple controlling everything in its software ecosystem as usual.

A project resulting from a takeover

The origin of this project dates back to August 2020, when Apple acquired the Canadian fintech company Mobeewave for an amount estimated at $100 million by Bloomberg. The startup was already developing a software layer to transform iPhones into payment terminals without additional hardware accessories, thanks to the NFC chip integrated on Apple smartphones since 2014 and the iPhone 6.

This short-range communication technology is quite widespread - it is used for physical bank cards to make contactless payments. But until then Apple reserved the use of the iPhone chip for Apple Pay, its contactless payment service with a high ceiling (300 euros). This choice of exclusivity also earned him tensions with competition regulators , in Europe and the United States. The chip serves as a transmitter for Apple Pay, it will serve as a receiver for Tap to Pay.

A function to be integrated rather than an application

A detail as interesting as it is important, Tap to Pay is not an application per se, but rather a feature that application developers can integrate. For its launch, Apple has partnered with  Stripe , which plans to integrate Tap to Play with the Shopify app as a first step. Apple is thus linking up with a big name in the fintech ecosystem for its debut, but remains secret about the business model of its functionality.

Still, questions arise about the future of this novelty from Apple. As a reminder, if Apple Pay has made its way to France, this is not the case for all the financial products of the Apple brand, like the credit card called Apple Card. It will therefore be necessary to be patient before a possible arrival of Tap to Pay.

Moreover, the new system from Apple is not yet in condition to exceed the traditional payment terminal, far from it. Tap to Pay is in fact confined to contactless payment – ​​since you cannot insert your bank card into an iPhone – and this is limited to tranches of 50 euros in France.

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