How to accept iPhone payments: A quick-start guide for businesses


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  1. Introduction
  2. Can you accept credit card payments using an iPhone?
  3. Which types of businesses need to accept payments on an iPhone?
  4. How much does it cost to accept payments using an iPhone?
  5. Benefits of accepting payments with an iPhone
  6. How to accept customer payments on an iPhone
    1. 1. Choose a payment processing service
    2. 2. Create a Stripe account
    3. 3. Decide whether to use a card reader or a hardware-free solution
    4. 4. Customise your payment system
    5. 5. Process a payment
    6. 6. Handle post-transaction activities
    7. 7. Transfer funds

Accepting payments on an iPhone helps businesses stay competitive by maximising convenience and elevating the customer experience. According to a report by Insider Intelligence, more than 1.18 billion people used contactless mobile payments globally in 2020, an increase of more than 22% compared to 2019. Mobile payment volume is expected to grow exponentially in the near future. By 2025, according to the same report, there will be almost 1.5 billion contactless mobile payments users worldwide – nearly half of all smartphone users.

The flexibility of processing transactions at any time, anywhere allows businesses to interact with their customers in new ways, accommodate their preferences and meet their needs more efficiently. Professionals from many fields, including freelance consultants, personal trainers and home service providers, can significantly benefit from this capability.

Accepting iPhone payments is no longer just an advantage – it’s becoming a necessity for many businesses. Here’s what you need to know about how iPhone payments work and how to get started quickly.

What's in this article?

  • Can you accept credit card payments using an iPhone?
  • Which types of businesses need to accept payments on an iPhone?
  • How much does it cost to accept payments using an iPhone?
  • Benefits of accepting payments with an iPhone
  • How to accept customer payments on an iPhone

Can you accept credit card payments using an iPhone?

Yes, it is possible to accept credit card payments using an iPhone. You can do this by using a mobile payment processing provider, such as Stripe. Stripe will provide you with a card reader that you can connect to your iPhone, allowing you to swipe, insert or tap credit cards to accept payments. Alternatively, payment processors also provide an app that you can use to facilitate contactless payments using NFC-enabled cards and digital wallets. These apps can also manage transactions, issue receipts and track sales.

Which types of businesses need to accept payments on an iPhone?

Accepting credit card payments on an iPhone can benefit a wide array of businesses and professionals. Here are some sectors where this functionality is particularly useful:

  • Small retail businesses
    These businesses often operate in unique physical locations, such as boutiques, food vans/trailers and pop-up shops. When these businesses operate in different locations depending on the day, accepting credit card payments through an iPhone creates a convenient, consistent payment experience.

  • Freelancers and independent contractors
    Freelancers, such as writers, designers and consultants, often work remotely or meet clients in different locations. Being able to accept payments on the go can simplify the transaction process.

  • Personal trainers and coaches
    Personal trainers, yoga instructors and life coaches who offer their services in different locations (such as a client’s home, a public park or a rented studio) may find it beneficial to accept payments through their iPhone. Phone payments allow them to receive payments directly after a session is over, without needing to wait until they are back at a physical office.

  • In-person service providers
    In-person service providers may include electricians, plumbers or landscape gardeners. When these professionals perform services at a client’s house, they can accept payments on the spot, immediately after the job is done.

  • Event vendors
    Vendors at fairs, festivals and markets who sell goods or services may not have access to traditional payment systems. Being able to accept payments via an iPhone simplifies transactions and enables vendors to accept the most popular in-person payment methods. This can help increase sales by moving through a line of customers quickly.

  • Non-profit organisations
    Non-profits often conduct fundraising events at different locations. Having the ability to accept donations through an iPhone can make it easier for supporters to contribute to the cause on the spot.

How much does it cost to accept payments using an iPhone?

The cost of accepting payments on an iPhone will depend on the mobile payment processing service that you choose. Each service has its own fee structure, which can include charging a percentage of each transaction or a fixed fee per transaction. For example, Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge for online transactions. In-person payments made using Stripe Terminal cost 2.7% + 5¢ per transaction.

Benefits of accepting payments with an iPhone

Accepting payments with an iPhone helps businesses simplify transactions and create a flexible payments setup. Here’s a quick overview of the major benefits:

  • Mobility and convenience
    One of the major perks of using an iPhone for processing payments is the ability to move freely from one location to another. Whether you are a freelancer meeting a client in a café, a retailer at a pop-up market or a service provider working at a client’s house, you can take care of payments immediately. This eliminates the need for a static point-of-sale (POS) terminal and offers your customers a user-friendly, seamless transaction experience.

  • Fast transactions
    Accepting payments with an iPhone reduces transaction time compared to other types of payments, such as cash or cheques, and eliminates the need to write receipts by hand. Faster transactions also mean shorter queues, leading to better customer experiences.

  • Secure transactions
    iPhone payment systems employ robust technology, such as encryption, to safeguard transaction data. As many payment processing providers, including Stripe, also offer fraud detection capabilities, accepting payments with an iPhone can provide an extra layer of protection.

  • Straightforward setup and use
    Most iPhone payment systems are relatively easy to implement and use. Typically, there’s no requirement for new hardware or complex software. All you need is a card reader that connects to your device and an app that allows you to process payments. This is especially valuable for platform businesses that need to enable in-person payments at scale. They won’t need to distribute new hardware to their business users in order for those users to begin accepting payments on their iPhones, via the platform.

  • Digital receipts
    Many iPhone payment systems let you send electronic receipts to your customers via email or text message. Not only does this save paper, but it also makes tracking and sales-record management easier.

  • Improved cash flow
    As payments made on an iPhone are processed immediately, there’s no need to wait for cheques to clear or for clients to process and pay invoices. This can improve your business’s cash flow, which is particularly beneficial for small businesses and freelancers.

  • Flexible payment options
    Typically, processing payments through an iPhone means that you can offer your customers a choice of different payment methods, such as credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets. Giving customers more options can improve customer satisfaction and potentially increase sales.

How to accept customer payments on an iPhone

Accepting customer payments on an iPhone can work in one of two ways: using a physical card reader attached to an iPhone to enable payments, or using software that allows for contactless tap-to-pay payments, without any additional hardware.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started, using both of these methods:

1. Choose a payment processing service

There are multiple payment processing providers, including Stripe, that support mobile payments using iPhone. Each of these services generally charges a fee per transaction. Consider factors such as cost, ease of use, customer support and the types of payments accepted.

2. Create a Stripe account

If you’re not already a Stripe user, sign up for a Stripe account by providing details about your business and your banking information for fund transfers. You will need to go through a verification process before you can start accepting payments.

3. Decide whether to use a card reader or a hardware-free solution

Stripe Reader

If you want to use a card reader, Stripe Reader is a small, handheld device that pairs with your iPhone to accept payments. It supports Tap to Pay for contactless payments, as well as chip and swipe card payments.

  • Order the reader directly from Stripe’s website.
  • Download the Stripe Terminal app from the App Store and sign in with your Stripe account. The app allows you to use your iPhone to process payments.
  • Follow the instructions provided by Stripe to connect Stripe Reader to your iPhone. Typically, you’ll do this via Bluetooth in the Stripe Terminal app.

Tap to Pay on iPhone

If you prefer to use a hardware-free payment solution instead of Stripe Reader, you can enable Tap to Pay on iPhone. This feature allows you to accept contactless payments directly through your device. You can enable this feature in your iPhone settings, typically found under "Wallet & Apple Pay".

4. Customise your payment system

Stripe allows you to configure your payments setup to suit your business needs. You can set up your product catalogue, tax rates and other settings in the Stripe Dashboard, which syncs with the Stripe Terminal app.

5. Process a payment

To accept a payment, input the purchase amount into the Stripe Terminal app on your iPhone. Your customer can then tap their contactless card or device – such as an iPhone with Apple Pay or another digital wallet – on Stripe Reader to make the payment. Alternatively, you can also insert chip cards or swipe magnetic stripe cards with the reader. If a customer is using Tap to Pay, they can tap their card or device on your iPhone.

6. Handle post-transaction activities

After the payment is processed, you can issue a receipt to your customer. Stripe offers digital receipts via email or SMS. Stripe’s APIs and integrations also make it easy to track your sales, manage disputes and handle refunds directly from your Stripe Dashboard.

7. Transfer funds

Payments processed with Stripe will be transferred to your bank account based on the payout schedule that you choose (for example, daily or weekly).

With Stripe, you’ll gain a high level of security in addition to the iPhone’s security and privacy features. Stripe is certified as a PCI DSS Level 1 service provider, the highest level of certification available in the payment industry. To find out more about accepting payments on iPhone using Stripe, start here.

Ready to get started?

Create an account and start accepting payments – no contracts or banking details required. Or, contact us to design a custom package for your business.