The peer-to-peer (P2P) payments market has been getting crowded of late, and owners of iOS devices in the US will soon have a new option to choose from as part of the annual update to Apple’s mobile operating system.
The iPhone-maker recently previewed its iOS 11 update, which will see P2P capabilities built into the software’s iMessage app. This will allow users to send and request money from their contacts with just a couple of taps, or even by telling Apple’s Siri voice assistant to make payments, using credit and debit cards they already have linked to their Apple Wallet account.
When users receive a payment, the money will go into a new Apple Pay Cash account, Apple explained at a presentation introducing iOS 11, which is expected to be rolled out in the fall. They can then use this virtual payment card to instantly send funds to someone, make purchases using Apple Pay in stores, apps and online, or transfer it to their bank account.
This will see Apple directly compete with similar offerings from providers such as Venmo, which already allows users to send and receive money via iMessage and Siri. However, by incorporating such a solution directly into its own services rather than relying on third-party add-ons, Apple will be hoping to keep users within its own controlled ecosystem and bolster usage of its existing Apple Pay offerings.
The company is partnering with prepaid payment card company Green Dot for the virtual Apple Pay Cash card, and Finextra noted this move is seen by some commentators as a stepping stone on the way to the creation of a full bank-like payment service.
Mobile P2P payments are particularly popular among younger consumers, with a recent survey from Bank of America suggesting one in three millennials in the US have used such a service.