Apple is working on a new payments service that will allow iPhones to accept payments directly on device with no additional hardware, reports Bloomberg. Right now, iPhones can accept credit cards with add-ons like the Square Reader, but Apple’s new technology will eliminate the need for a third-party product.
Individuals and small businesses will be able to accept payments with the tap of a debit or credit card on the iPhone, a feature that is likely to use the NFC chip that’s already built into Apple’s devices.
Apple started developing the hardware-free credit card payment option back in 2020, when it purchased Mobeewave for approximately $100 million. Mobeewave was a startup that created technology for smartphones to accept payments using NFC.
At the time, Mobeewave’s website said that sending payments with the Mobeewave app was as simple as inputting a transaction amount and tapping an NFC-enabled card on the back of a smartphone, and Apple’s built-in payment feature is likely to work in a similar way.
Bloomberg says it’s not yet clear if the payment service will be bundled into Apple Pay, though the team working on the feature has been working within Apple’s payments division.
Because current iPhones already have NFC technology, this is not a feature that will be tied to a hardware update. Apple is planning to roll out on-iPhone card payments in the coming months, perhaps including it in the iOS 15.4 update that could launch in the spring.