At Apple’s WWDC 2017 Craig Federighi (AKA Hair Force One) announced some pretty choice upgrades to Apple Pay — upgrades that put it in direct competition with Venmo, Square, Facebook and Google.
Image credit: Patrick Lucas Austin
Apple Pay now supports person-to-person money transfers exclusively through Apple Messages, and will analyse your messages to suggest when you should pay someone if the conversation turns to how much you spent drinking at McSorley’s (though come on, I think you know when someone’s asking for dough).
Peer-to-peer payments apps such as Venmo, Square Cash, and even Facebook Messenger’s payment service are all platform-agnostic, meaning you can send cash from an iOS or Android device, though you’ll need to convince someone to download and register for said service (Square Cash only needs your bank card), which means pulling out your credit card yet again to register for the privilege to pay someone else. That’s a barrier Apple doesn’t have to overcome, especially since, according to the company, its Apple Pay service is the number one contactless payment service on mobile devices.
Apple also has the advantage of a more ubiquitous smart-payment presence than the competition. Coupled with the fact that a majority of the over 800 million iTunes accounts have active credit cards attached, Apple Pay might soon be the de facto method for paying friends, just as the App Store was the gold standard for app ecosystems.
Money sent and received through Apple Pay will reside on the company’s new Apple Pay Cash Card, which lets you send that cash to other people, use said dough to make other Apple Pay purchases, and yes, transfer to your traditional bank account. It’s an iMessage app, and uses TouchID to authenticate the payment. It’s still unclear whether or not you can send money to folks not using an iOS device, which could make drinking with friends a little more awkward if they are on Android devices. Then again, you could always get new friends, or convince them to get new phones.
The service isn’t perfect, of course. There’s currently no information on whether you can send or receive cash from groups of friends like you can in Facebook Messenger, nor is there any info on associated fees with sending money through Apple Pay. You might already have a peer-to-peer payment system in your life, and that’s just fine. Apple’s new payment service isn’t for everyone.