Apple just announced plans to release a software update this spring that will turn any iPhone XS or newer into a contactless payment terminal. You won't need any sort of accessory or additional hardware -- only an iPhone running the right software.
A software update for the iPhone will enable the feature, but users will also need to use a third-party app. Apple announced that Stripe will be the first payment platform to work with Tap to Pay for iPhone through the Shopify Point of Sale app this spring.
Apple also noted that other payment processors and apps will follow later this year.
To be clear, Tap to Pay for iPhone isn't limited to only accepting payments from other iPhone users. Users will be able to accept payments from Apple Pay, credit/debit cards equipped with contactless payment functionality, and "other digital wallets" (Samsung Pay and Google Pay).
Apple released a beta version of the software update -- the second developer beta of iOS 15.4 -- for developers to begin integrating the Tap to Pay for iPhone SDK into their apps on Tuesday.
Bloomberg recently reported Apple was working on this feature, and I was hopeful that we'd see it released soon.
I'm curious about whether or not Apple will add NFC to the iPad in order to turn it into a bigger Tap to Pay terminal. The iPhone as a portable point of sale system is a great idea, but I imagine a larger-screened device is a more suitable device for a payment kiosk, as Square has proven.
What do you think about Tap to Pay for iPhone? Is it something you see helping small businesses, or just another way for Apple to lock people into its ecosystem? Let us know in the comments below.