Square said on Thursday that Apple’s two-way “Tap to Pay” functionality, which turns iPhones that can already send payment-card information into terminals that can accept them, will become accessible to some Square vendors this summer. In February, Apple made public an announcement regarding a cooperation with Shopify and Stripe.
Square and other NFC-enabled payment devices allow iPhone users to pay in stores and on the go by tapping their devices to the specific NFC-reading hardware. Newly activated hardware on the iPhones will allow vendors to receive payments directly through an app on their phone, removing the need for additional equipment.
It expands on the increased NFC functionalities that Apple initially began introducing in 2019 in an effort to meet customers’ growing demand for touchless payment. For years, Apple has been accused of being sluggish in opening up NFC functions to developers, and Tap to Pay addresses one of those areas. According to the European Union’s antitrust complaint last month, Apple violated antitrust law by not offering its NFC features to other mobile wallets.
A news release from Square’s president of financial services, David Talach, stated that the company’s decision to embrace Apple’s Tap to Pay will give businesses “greater flexibility to adjust their commerce experiences to shifting consumer preferences.”
This summer, a limited number of Square businesses will have the opportunity to test the new feature ahead of the general public. Later this year, Square plans to make it available to all vendors.
When Shopify and Stripe announced their cooperation with Apple in February, the company claimed that Stripe would be the “first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay on the iPhone to its business customers.” Requests for information on whether the product will still be made accessible to Stripe and Shopify customers before those using Square were not answered by Apple.
Square integration in Tap to Pay could alleviate the “Square killer” rumours surrounding the new feature. Apple’s unlocking of NFC technology does not enable the range of payment services necessary to make it useful, as Protocol highlighted when it was originally launched. Nonetheless, Stripe and Shopify, both of which are aiming to expand their in-person retail payment capabilities, have benefited from the investment Square has made in card-reading hardware.
The method also helps Apple as the tech titan enters the payments arena. Thanks to this feature, iPhones can now be used by retailers as mobile check-out terminals. To process payments in Apple Stores, even the company itself has had to rely on additional gear. Additionally, the number of places accepting Apple Pay could grow as a result of this. A small percentage of Apple Pay transactions is a small price to pay for keeping people locked into their iPhones.