Shock Apple update will let you TAP your iPhone on another phone to send money

IPHONE owners will soon be able to send cash to people by simply tapping their mobiles together.

Apple on Tuesday unveiled the new "Tap to Pay" feature, which will roll out soon to users in the US in an update to the iPhone's iOS operating system.

Expanding the iPhone's cash-sending capabilities will make it easier for small businesses to accept contactless payments using their mobiles, Apple said.

This means they won't have to buy additional hardware or payment terminals to accept payments via credit and debit cards, as well as other digital wallets.

It's unclear when Apple plans to roll out Tap to Pay in the US. Apple did not reveal whether it had plans to expand the feature elsewhere.

The company also did not say whether it had plans to allow everyday iPhone users to send cash to one another using the tool in future.

The move will give Apple a competitive edge in the growing world of contactless payments, in which the iPhone, as well as Apple Pay, play a dominant role by effectively turning the iPhone into a point-of-sale terminal.

The iPhone has been used as a contactless way to pay for goods and services since Apple Pay launched in 2014.

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However, it required merchants to have their own point-of-sale hardware in order to accept the payments.

Because of the cost, often only large retailers would have mobile tap-to-pay devices.

Apple's own retail employees have used a device bolted onto an iPhone to accept contactless payments in its stores, for example.

"Oftentimes our contactless reader has issues or is finicky so itll be great to offer this new way to pay as a backup and not have to buy new hardware to do it," said Mimi Striplin, owner of The Tiny Tassel, jewelry store in Charleston, South Carolina.

Now the iPhone will be able to act as a payment terminal itself, without any additional hardware, Apple said.

The tap-to-pay feature will use the iPhone's existing NFC chip that was being used to transmit payments down to a payment terminal.

It will be available to developers via an iOS software update this spring. It will be up to developers and payment-services companies to add the capability to their point-of-sale software.

Stripe will be the first point-of-sale company to use the iPhone as a tap-to-pay payment terminal through its Shopify app, Apple said.

Contactless, or tap-to-pay, payment systems have long been popular outside the U.S. as the default way of paying for goods and services.

But tap-to-pay has grown in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, particularly during the pandemic when customers and merchants wanted to avoid physical interaction with cash and cards.

Google and Samsung have unveiled Android devices that would allow merchants to use those devices as contactless payment terminals as well, but those announcements have been largely aimed at people outside the U.S.

The new iPhone feature is aimed at the U.S., a much more lucrative market where contactless payments are still growing.

The feature will only be available on iPhones XS or later, Apple said, and will not be available on iPads.

Just like with Apple Pay, the company said it will keep transaction data private and will not know what merchants and customers are buying.

In other news, a four-tonne chunk of a SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the Moon, according to online space junk trackers.

Boeing has sunk $450million into a flying taxi startup that hopes to whisk passengers across cities by the end of the decade.

Personalised smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, may finally become available to U.S. consumers this year.

And, scientists are embarking on a mission to unravel the mystery behind dozens of grisly child mummies buried in an underground tomb in Sicily.

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