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Apple on Monday announced a new type of NFC-based feature that will allow users to make quicker and easier Apple Pay payments in new places.
The new type of NFC tag (which can be embedded in stickers) automatically triggers the Apple Pay Wallet interface to open when an iPhone or Apple Watch is held near it. No special point-of-sale terminals, third-party apps or additional set up is required.
Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s Vice President of Apple Pay, announced the new feature at the TRANSACT Tech conference in Las Vegas on Monday. TRANSACT is an expo focused on the latest in mobile and contactless payment technologies.
As far as the benefits, the new feature should make easy Apple Pay transactions much more seamless in environments where POS systems aren’t convenient.
A user could pay for a scooter rental just by holding their phone next to the device, without needing to download an app. And, in fact, Apple announced that one of the first partners at launch will be Bird scooters.
Users will also be able to use the stickers at PayByPhone parking meters and in Bonobos clothing stores. In the latter case, the NFC stickers should allow for self-service shopping — such as NFC tags being placed on a clothing rack.
In addition to the NFC stickers, Bailey also announced that Apple Pay users will be able to sign up for store loyalty cards within the Wallet app in a single tap. That could do away with the hassle of spelling out your email or phone number at retailers.
Apple said that the Apple Pay features will roll out later this year. While Bird, Bonobos and PayByPhone are current partners, it’s likely that more retailers and services will be added to the roster as we can closer to the launch date.
The new Apple Pay and Wallet features are just small parts of a larger push by Apple to have its devices replace the physical wallet. With the spread of contactless payment terminals and other Wallet-supporting systems, that may become a reality sooner than later.