In February, Apple announced a new Tap to Pay feature that would allow any iPhone to function as a contactless payment terminal. The feature is being put through its paces at an unlikely testing ground — the Apple Park Visitor Center.
iPhones have allowed contactless payments since 2014, when Apple Pay was launched. Although users have been able to make payments using the feature’s underlying NFC technology, they have not been able to receive payments on their iPhones using it. The new Tap to Pay feature eliminates this restriction, allowing people to use iPhones as a payment terminal if they choose to. The best part is that receiving contactless payments requires no additional hardware.
Tap to Pay is supported on iPhone XS and newer iPhones. However, it hasn’t been rolled out to consumers. Stripe was announced as the sole partner at launch, but the Cupertino-based firm has since allowed other partners. It is available through Shopify’s and Dutch firm Adyen’s point-of-sale (POS) platforms as well. Adyen will reportedly handle enterprise customers and commerce platforms, such as NewStore and Lightspeed Commerce. Through this, many more businesses will be able to take advantage of Apple’s Tap to Pay feature on iPhone.
The iPhone maker allowed Apple Store staffers to receive NFC payments on an iPhone using a specialized accessory like the Square Reader. These devices are known as “Issac” and were famously used in gift card scams. They also require a wired connection to the receiving iPhone through the Lightning connector or headphone jack. Once Tap to Pay starts rolling out, these snap-on accessories should become unnecessary. Interestingly, Apple is testing such an arrangement at a rather unlikely location — the Apple Park Visitor Center. Here’s one customer’s experience shared on Twitter:
The Apple Park Visitor Center is one of the only apple retail stores in the US to support contactless pay straight from an iPhone. Awesome to see in person! pic.twitter.com/GiFDiL56OO
— Michael (@NTFTWT) May 15, 2022
The company usually tests out Apple Store changes at the Visitor Center. Depending on the testing results, Apple decides to roll out the feature to the masses. Testing in realistic usage scenarios also helps iron out teething troubles before launch.