Iphone 13 Review HeroSource: Joseph Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly testing letting iPhones receive card payments.
  • It's expected that card payments will work by using the iPhone's built-in NFC chip.
  • The move comes after Apple bought a mobile payments company in 2020.

Apple is reportedly testing a feature that will allow people to receive card payments right on their iPhones in a way similar to that currently made possible by accessories like those provided by Square.

While likely to be part of the Apple Pay system, that is yet to be confirmed. Regardless, the team working on the new feature is working within Apple's payments department reports Bloomberg. It's thought that the new feature has been in the works since the 2020 acquisition of mobile payments outfit Mobeewave.

The company has been working on the new feature since around 2020, when it paid about $100 million for a Canadian startup called Mobeewave that developed technology for smartphones to accept payments with the tap of a credit card. The system will likely use the iPhone's near field communications, or NFC, chip that is currently used for Apple Pay.

The use of the NFC chip built into iPhones could theoretically also allow Apple Watches to accept payments as well, although the focus will likely be on iPhones. While iPads do include NFC chips, they aren't used for Apple Pay — again, whether that could change in the future remains to be seen. However, iPads are often used as point-of-sale machines in small businesses and adding card payment functionality could be hugely beneficial.

Because payment capabilities are already built into iPhones (and indeed, Apple Watches) it seems unlikely that a hardware change would be needed in order to accept payments. That means the feature could be added via a software update once it's ready to go.