5G iPhones may become payment terminals in Verizon-Mastercard project

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Mastercard is working with Verizon to come up with ways to improve contactless payments in the United States by leveraging 5G, a partnership that could help small businesses by turning smartphones like the iPhone into an accessible payment terminal.

Announced on Tuesday, the partnership with have the two companies working together on 5G-enabled contactless payments. While leaning towards assisting consumers, the project will also focus on improving the payments for small and medium-sized businesses.

As part of the collaboration, which hopes to offer results by 2023, the companies will try to employ emerging payment systems to turn smartphones and mobile devices into payment terminals, and allow wearables to make payments, reports CNBC.

To a point, this sort of functionality already exists, with the Apple Watch able to pay for goods through Apple Pay, while the iPhone can be used as a payment terminal with the assistance of hardware from Square and other providers. However, it seems that the partnership may aim to enable such payments without the extra peripherals.

"5G will enable the small- and-medium business to handle transactions more quickly and focus on what they are really delivering to customers," said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. "You can use 5G to create more frictionless ways of transacting with your customers and focus on your business. That's of course what we see with touchless stores and coming out from Covid, I think we see much more touchless because it's part of our society today."

Small and medium-sized businesses have long able to take contactless payments via iPhone, using services such as Square, or iZettle. These offer a separate contactless reader, however, which connects to the iPhone via Bluetooth.

In an email to AppleInsider, a MasterCard spokesperson stressed the work was to integrate Verizon 5G to turn "certain connected devices into commerce-enabled devices," and while that includes work on Tap on Phone, it currently only supports Android devices. It seems the project will also have more of a focus overall on Android devices, rather than for Apple hardware.

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