Apple’s ‘Tap to Pay’ Feature Could Revolutionize Commerce – How It Compares to Competitors

Close up of woman hands holding mobile phone with application to receive money.
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Apple announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8 plans to introduce a new Tap to Pay feature on iPhones, which will allow merchants across the U.S. to use their iPhone to accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets through a simple tap to their iPhone. There is no additional hardware or payment terminal needed, the company said in an announcement.

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Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps and offer as a payment option to their business customers, Apple said. Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer the service to their business customers, including the Shopify Point of Sale app this spring. Additional payment platforms and apps will follow later this year.

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“As more and more consumers are tapping to pay with digital wallets and credit cards, Tap to Pay on iPhone will provide businesses with a secure, private, and easy way to accept contactless payments and unlock new checkout experiences using the power, security, and convenience of iPhone,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said in the announcement. “In collaboration with payment platforms, app developers, and payment networks, we’re making it easier than ever for businesses of all sizes — from solopreneurs to large retailers — to seamlessly accept contactless payments and continue to grow their business.”

Tap to Pay on iPhone will work with contactless credit and debit cards from leading payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa, Apple said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the new feature could cut into the business of companies such as Block, (ex-Square) which makes hardware for stores and businesses that allows them to accept contactless payment. Shares of Block fell about 1% in midday trading on Feb. 8.

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Barclays analyst Ramsey El-Assal said that there isn’t an immediate threat for Block, Bloomberg reported.

 “We do not expect the inclusion of Apple’s Tap to Pay will have a material impact on current competitive dynamics,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

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“Whether you’re a salesperson at an internet-first retailer or an individual entrepreneur, you can soon accept contactless payments on a device that’s already in your pocket: your iPhone,” Billy Alvarado, Stripe’s chief business officer, said in the announcement. “With Tap to Pay on iPhone, millions of businesses using Stripe can enhance their in-person commerce experience by offering their customers a fast and secure checkout.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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