iOS 14's latest beta has revealed that Apple is working on a QR code system to make it easier to pay with Apple Pay.
9to5Mac (opens in new tab) found evidence of the system within the second developer beta of iOS 14. Although it's currently not functional, assuming Apple keeps the feature intact in its full-version rollout of iOS 14, iPhone users will be able to try this out for themselves around September.
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The screenshot 9to5Mac took of the system also shows an iPhone generating a QR code to then be scanned by another user. This could be used as an easier way to transfer funds between friends for example.
Based on the system being found in a public API folder, 9to5Mac believes that this QR code-based payments feature will be available for integration by third-party developers. This makes a lot of sense given how keen Apple is to push its payment services further afield, and would help out developers by giving them a ready-made method for iPhone users to pay for additional services in-app.
Apple already has its own QR code design in place for App Clips, another new iOS 14 feature that uses the codes in order to inform your phone which section of a web app it needs to access. While this newly found payment system does work with normal QR codes or even simple barcodes, we could perhaps see the use of the unique radial design, or a variant of it, as Apple's preferred standard. It could be another good way for Apple to stand out among the other payment services and NFC options, and encourage people to use it.
The first public beta of iOS 14 is expected next month. We would only recommend trying it out if you've got a phone you don't mind potentially losing data on; betas can have all sorts of unexpected effects after all. Most users are better off waiting until the full release later in the year, or trying it out on the new iPhone 12 once it's revealed.