Watch Apple’s Tap to Pay feature in action at the Apple Park visitor center

Watch Apple’s “Tap to Pay” feature, which lets the iPhone accept contactless payments without using additional hardware, in use at Apple Park’s visitor center.

Apple's marketing image showing two young women tapping the top of their iPhones to use the Tap to Pay NFC contactless payments feature in Apple Pay
Image credit: Apple
  • The “Tap to Pay” feature was announced in February 2022, with the company’s visitor center at the Apple Park headquarters already supporting the feature.
  • A video included right ahead shows a customer paying for their goods with Apple Pay simply by tapping their iPhone against a retail employee’s iPhone.
  • It’s not clear when support for the feature was implemented, but it would appear that Apple has begun a controlled rollout of “Tap to Pay”.

Watch “Tap to Pay” in use at the Apple Park visitor center

A developer shared on his Twitter a video showcasing the feature in action. As you can see for yourself, this new Apple Pay feature works just as you’d expect. An app on a retail employee’s phone which runs the Isaac payment system acts as a contactless NFC terminal. A customer then makes the payment by tapping the top of their iPhone gently against the other device. Apple says it created “Tap to Pay” to help small businesses and individuals accept payments on the go without having to use additional hardware such as dongles from Square. The feature effectively turns your NFC-enabled iPhone into a payment terminal.

Apple has said that “Tap to Pay” will be used across its retail stores, and this is the first known use of the feature in the wild. The Apple Park visitor center is a retail store located on the company’s campus. It has a cantilevered carbon fiber roof that appears to float (it’s only supported by stone-clad cores and no other extraneous columns for support). The store is open only to Apple Park visitors and neighbors.

Your iPhone is now a payment terminal

Accepting credit card payments on a phone via NFC without requiring any additional external hardware is nothing new. What’s new is Apple’s willingness to permit third-party developers to implement this feature in their apps. Previously, no apps could use contactless payments features that require NFC hardware.

“Tap to Pay” should especially cater to small businesses and individuals such as hairstylists, who will soon be able to process tap-to-pay contactless payments right out of the box. Apple announced the Tap to Pay feature earlier in 2022 but didn’t provide a firm launch date beyond a vague “later in 2022” target. But with the Apple Park visitor center now using the tech, it shouldn’t be long before the first “Tap to Pay” apps start arriving. No software update should be required to use this feature because support for “Tap to Pay” is reportedly present in iOS 15.4.

Tap to Pay requirements

“Tap to Pay” will first launch in the United States

The feature requires an iPhone XS or later and a partner-enabled app. The first non-Apple payment platforms to offer “Tap to Pay” to customers will be Stripe and Dutch payment processing company Adyen, with additional partnerships and apps arriving later this year. Read: How to fix iPhone widgets not working or updating