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Apple reportedly working on tech enabling iPhones to accept NFC payments

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a fairly useful technology that enables contactless payments and sharing of content by just tapping an NFC device against compatible hardware. Today, Apple rolled out iOS 15.3 update to the general public, and while it does not contain NFC-specific enhancements, this is one of the areas that the Cupertino tech firm is working on next.

The back of a blue iPhone 12 in the left hand on a blurred background

According to a report from Bloomberg (via 9to5Mac), Apple is in the process of developing software that would allow iPhone users to accept credit cards payments via NFC, without any additional hardware. The capability will likely be compatible with Apple Pay too since it will be based on the same technology and implementation. The report states that:

The upcoming feature will instead turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, letting users such as food trucks and hairstylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their device.

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, the people said. It’s also not known if Apple intends to partner with an existing payment network for the feature or launch it alone.

The move would allow Apple to bypass Square, a company which supplies the hardware needed for terminals being utilized by iOS devices making contactless payments. Instead, businesses could simply use dedicated iPhone or iPad devices to accept incoming payments from their customers. Although the report obviously hasn't been confirmed by Apple, the feature is expected to roll out in the "coming months".

Source: Bloomberg (paywall)

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