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App Development
5 minutes read

What Is Tap to Pay?

By Mario Tatis
By Mario Tatis
App Development
5 minutes read

If you are interested in the technology driving contactless payments, you’ll likely want to know what is Tap to Pay? You might have noticed that you can tap credit or debit cards at a payment terminal instead of swiping or inserting them. Contactless payment has been a trending product design in the FinTech industry for some time, but the emergence of COVID-19 illustrated the importance and urgency of contactless payments. 

Most retailers, grocery stores, restaurants, etc., accept contactless payments. However, the innovations don’t stop there. Recently, Apple announced a new capability for iOS developers, Tap to Pay. 

Like many of the innovations from Apple, Tap to Pay is poised to radically change the way businesses accept payments. This post will explain what Tap to Pay is and how it works to securely accept and process contactless payments. 

What Is Apple’s Tap to Pay?

Tap to Pay is a new iPhone capability that will allow users to use their iPhones as a payment terminal. Apple has already enabled people to utilize their mobile devices to make payments instead of using physical credit or debit cards. Now the company will enable businesses large and small to completely revolutionize the way they accept payments. 

The best part is that you won’t need extra hardware or a payment terminal to accept and process payments. Instead, users can pay with Apple Pay, credit or debit cards, and other mobile wallets just by tapping the target iPhone with their card or device. 

Tap to Pay will be made available to payment platforms and iOS app designers to incorporate into their mobile offerings for business customers. The popular, heavily-used payment platform Stripe has already indicated that they will make Tap to Pay available to their business customers, including the popular Shopify Point of Sale app. Moving forward, you can expect every major payment platform to follow suit. 

Consumers have demonstrated an appetite for mobile wallets and mobile payments. Beyond mobile payments, many consumers prefer tapping to pay versus swiping or inserting their cards. Apple’s Tap to Pay gives businesses the chance to securely and easily accept contactless payments anywhere they have an iPhone. 

Forward-thinking businesses can use the iPhone to revolutionize the traditional checkout experience and create a customer experience tailored to modern consumers. Apple Pay is already accepted at over 90 percent of retailers in the United States. However, it won’t be long until Tap to Pay is more the norm than the trendy new option. 

If you run a business, now is the time to consider how you can best put Tap to Pay to use in your operation. 

How Does Tap to Pay Work? 

Have you ever tapped your debit card at the grocery store instead of inserting or swiping it? If you have used any type of contactless payment method, Tap to Pay uses the same technology to provide fast, secure, and convenient payments. 

Here is what a typical transaction using Apple’s Tap to Pay would look like. When a customer is ready to checkout, the merchant will hold out their iPhone and prompt the customer to hold their iPhone, Apple Watch, or credit or debit card close; doing so will process payment and complete the transaction. Tap to Pay is powered by Near Field Communication (NFC) technology

What Is NFC Technology? 

In simple terms, NFC technology is a highly secure electronic transmission that facilitates the transfer of funds. NFC payments have gotten extremely popular with consumers, which is part of the reason why Apple developed Tap to Pay. 

NFC technology removes the need for customers to enter a PIN or sign a receipt; both of these measures are outdated and lack modern security features. Instead, Near Field Communication technology relies on RFID signals. So yes, your credit and debit cards are emitting radio signals, but don’t worry, Near Field Communications require extreme proximity of about four centimeters or less. 

Beyond proximity, NFC technology has to be activated by another signal. In the case of Tap to Pay, the signal comes from the merchant’s iPhone. As a result, NFC payments are more secure and convenient than any alternative. Plus, now that Apple enables businesses to use their iPhone with Tap to Pay, you no longer need to invest in a payment terminal. 

Should Consumers Be Concerned About Privacy? 

Digital privacy advocates might be concerned about Apple’s latest product offering from a privacy standpoint. However, privacy is a foundational element of every Apple payment service. Tap to Pay will use the same technology that makes Apple Pay secure and private. Each Tap to Pay transaction will be encrypted and processed using Secure Element.

Like Apple Pay, Apple will not know what is being purchased or who is buying it through Tap to Pay transactions. There have been little to no privacy concerns associated with Apple Pay. Your business can feel confident in the privacy and security of Tap to Pay. 

Final Thoughts 

Apple’s Tap to Pay promises to be an innovative new payment option for businesses. With the convenience and flexibility of Tap to Pay, your business can sell anywhere it has an iPhone and completely revolutionize the customer experience it provides. Many might be wondering what is Tap to Pay, but when you partner with an experienced app development partner, you can relax knowing they are keeping you updated with all of the latest innovations.

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