According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is actively in talks to launch a new person-to-person mobile payments service, like Apple Pay but for sending money between friends and family. Apple is in discussions with US banks to negotiate terms for the new service, which could launch next year. The publication says it is unclear if any deals have been struck to date and technical implementation details remain in flux.
Essentially, imagine AirDrop for mobile payments between people. This would essentially pit Apple Pay against other friend-to-friend payment solutions like PayPal’s Venmo, Facebook Messenger payments and similar services. Even Gmail offers person-to-person transactions right from the email client.
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From the Wall Street Journal’s report, Apple has discussed the project with several US banks including Wells Fargo, Chase, Capital One and JP Morgan. According to current plans, Apple would not charge banks for processing person-to-person payments. This differs from the Apple Pay we know today, where banks pay a small fee on every transaction.
The report says that one possibility for Apple is to hook into an existing system called ‘clearXchange’ which uses checking accounts to send money via an email address or phone number. Apple would dress the service to make it super simple for iOS users, likely connected to an Apple ID behind the scenes.
The service under consideration would allow consumers to zap payments from their checking accounts to recipients through their Apple devices. The service would likely be linked to the company’s Apple Pay system, which allows customers to make credit-card and debit-card payments with their mobile phones.
Apple got a patent for person-to-person Apple Pay payments earlier in the year, so it’s definitely been on the table for while and is the obvious next step to expand Apple’s mobile payment offerings aside from supporting more countries.
Apple Pay is currently available as a customer-to-merchant transaction in the United States and the UK with a variety of supporting banks. Apple Pay is coming to Australia and Canada via American Express by the end of 2015 as well as several more countries next year.