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Apple just gave a boost to mobile payments from physical things

For those who don't religiously follow Apple's every uttering (we have no choice), yesterday was a big day for the tech giant's early adopters, as it announced three new iPhone models (the Xs, Xs Max, and the XR). But hidden away in the details was an important piece of functionality that we predict will make triggering payments (and other things) from physical items commonplace.

The ability to tap a phone on an NFC (Near Field Communication) circuit in order to make something happen on the screen has long been a core feature of Android phones (as so many of Apple's 'new' features are). Indeed, Apple provided limited support for this in some iPhone models last year, but it's implementation was clunky, requiring users to download apps and initiate the process each time. Yesterday, Apple took an important step forward when it announced support for 'background NFC tag reading' in its new line up of phones.

Essentially, it means that those new phones will be able to detect the presence of an NFC circuit (like those found in our stickers) without any user intervention, just like Android phones can. They will then prompt the user to do whatever instructions that tag contains, whether that's making a phone call, opening an app, going to a URL, or – significantly – making a mobile payment via a service such as ours.

It's great news not just for merchants, but for all those mobile wallet users whowantto pay using this method. In a recent survey conducted for us by YouGov, 38% of iPhone owners said they would be willing to make a payment of some kind by scanning a printed QR code or tapping an NFC-enabled item.

Here's how it will work:

Apple is no stranger to NFC payments, of course, as that's exactly how Apple Pay works in stores. But by combining this new background tag-reading functionality with our platform, manufacturers and merchants will be able to trigger Apple Pay (and other) payments from any physical item much more easily.

If you'd like to be one of the first to take advantage of these developments, just drop us a line.