By Nathalie Voit

Apple unveiled a new contactless payment feature for iPhones on Feb. 8 that allows customers to purchase goods from merchants through a simple tap of their iPhone, according to a company press release.

The new “Tap to Pay” feature will enable millions of merchants across the U.S. to essentially use their iPhone as a point-of-sale-terminal without additional hardware. Businesses will be able to “seamlessly and securely accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets” by simply using an iPhone and a partner-enabled iOS app, Apple said.

Tap to Pay will be securely completed using NFC technology, the same technology the company currently uses for Apple Pay, according to the announcement. All payments will be encrypted and processed through the Secure Element, ensuring customers’ payment data is kept private and safe – even from Apple, who won’t be able to access the details of the transaction.

“As more and more consumers are tapping to pay with digital wallets and credit cards, Tap to Pay on iPhone will provide businesses with a secure, private, and easy way to accept contactless payments and unlock new checkout experiences using the power, security, and convenience of iPhone,” said Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet Jennifer Bailey. “In collaboration with payment platforms, app developers, and payment networks, we’re making it easier than ever for businesses of all sizes — from solopreneurs to large retailers — to seamlessly accept contactless payments and continue to grow their business.”

Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer the service in the spring, followed by other payment operators and apps later this year, Apple said.

The feature will work with contactless credit and debit cards from major payment providers, including American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

“Whether you’re a salesperson at an internet-first retailer or an individual entrepreneur, you can soon accept contactless payments on a device that’s already in your pocket: your iPhone,” said Stripe’s chief business officer Billy Alvarado. “With Tap to Pay on iPhone, millions of businesses using Stripe can enhance their in-person commerce experience by offering their customers a fast and secure checkout.”