Turning iPhones into payment terminals

After its introduction in 2014, Apple Pay has made spending seamless for swathes of people. Now, the company wants to move to the other side of the aisle. This time, to accept payments.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple is planning to introduce a new feature in the coming months that will let merchants accept card payments directly through their iPhones. In short, it wants to make its device a payment terminal or a point of sale (POS) machine. 

How will it work?

The report noted that this feature will be part of a software update in the coming months. So if you’re a merchant, you won’t have to go through a lot of steps to set it up.

In 2020, Apple acquired Canada-based payments startup Mobeeweave, which enabled mobile phones to act as payment terminals. Before this acquisition, the startup worked with Samsung to turn the Korean tech giant’s NFC-enabled phones into POS machines. Apple’s upcoming feature is expected to work in the same way.

However, there are a lot of unknowns about the product at this moment: will it be under the Apple Pay umbrella? Will Apple use the existing payment processing network or create its own?

Taking on Square and Venmo

Square is one of the biggest companies in North America when it comes to POS machines. The company sends merchants a free magstripe card reader, and charges just $49 for a contactless one.