Report: iPhones to Accept Credit Cards Without Extra Hardware

Paying with iPhones could be about to get a lot easier, for both customers and businesses.
Adam Rowe

Apple has plans to introduce a new iOS feature that allows iPhones to accept contactless payment without any of the typical hardware dongles offered by other fintech companies like Square.

We don't know exactly when to expect the feature, but it might arrive in the coming months with the iOS 15.4 beta.

It's the biggest move Apple has made yet towards creating a smooth contactless payment experience, and they have a ways to go — according to the latest report, just 6% of iPhone users currently pay in-store with their iPhones.

What We Know About iPhone Payments

Apple bought the contactless payment start-up Mobeewave back in 2020 for $100 million, when rumors first began that this feature might be on the way.

Currently, all Apple mobile devices require external Bluetooth terminals, like those used by Square. The new feature would cut that hardware out, meaning that people could pay for a service by tapping their credit card (or a second iPhone) against an iPhone. That's right, food trucks will be easier than ever to operate.

Bloomberg has the report, but can't confirm all the details: The new feature might be branded as Apple Pay, but it may not, and it might launch with partners beyond just Apple's existing payment network, or it may not. Either way, it's a big step that could make paying for anything a more simple process.

A POS Gold Rush?

Point of Sale (POS) systems are used at virtually every retail or restaurant store today, and there are already a large handful of great companies invested entirely in the space: Our tests found that Vend POS is the best for retailers, while Square POS is the top option for eateries, but there are nine or ten POS systems worth considering for each.

But massive tech companies with household names are starting to take an interest in the POS space. Reports dropped back in September 2021 that Amazon was considering developing its own POS, with aims to compete with ecommerce payment standards Shopify and Paypal. Now, Apple is poised to do the same.

It's a move might make sense for the biggest conglomerates, since capturing even more shopping data could pay dividends for their advertising operations. But Apple appears to just be replicating a technology that has existed in a few forms for a while now, so it's unlikely that they'll embed themselves as deeply as they have with, say, smartphones.

Still, we're happy to take a closer look at Apple's payments feature when it hits iOS. Until then, we'd recommend small business owners stick with our ranked list of recommended POS systems. Here, we even put them all in a table to make them easier to compare:

0 out of 0
Tech.co rating for retail
Score out of 5 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
Best for...
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your retail business
Price from
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
iPad app
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Android app
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
24/7 support
Hardware
Get started

Vend POS

Square POS

Talech POS

Revel POS

Erply POS

Shopify POS

Clover POS

Epos Now

Lightspeed

4.9
4.6
4.2
4.1
4.1
4.0
3.9
3.9
3.6

Best Retail POS

Best free POS System

Best value POS system

Best for CRM tools

Best for small franchises

Best for small ecommerce businesses

Built-in customer loyalty app

Quick setup process

Best for large businesses

$69 per month

Free (but transaction fees apply)

$29 per month

$99 per month

$69/month

$24 per month

$4.95 per month

$39 per month

Works with loads of third-party periperals

Sold by Square, separately or bundled. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.

Available through third-party vendors

Offers a preconfigured POS terminal with an iPad and tablet stand, a router, a printer, and a cash drawer.

Works with loads of hardware options

Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets

Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers

Works with lots of third-party peripherals

Sold by Lightspeed. NOT compatible with weighing scales.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi coming out from Abrams Books in 2022. In the meantime, he's hunting own the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

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