Apple Pay’s next step? Peer-to-peer payments

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doxo Apple Pay
It couldn’t be faster to pay for your ride.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is again working to deliver its own Venmo competitor that will allow fans to transfer money to one another using their iPhones, according to a new report.

Multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans expect the service to be unveiled later this year.

Since making its debut in October 2014, Apple Pay has expanded its reach to 15 markets around the world. There’s still plenty of room left to grow, but Apple is already eyeing the platform’s next step. According to Recode, that’s taking on Venmo and PayPal.

Venmo processed a staggering $17.6 billion in payments last year, twice as much as it processed the year before, while Chase’s QuickPay service turned over $28 billion. It’s an incredibly lucrative business that could make Apple Pay an even greater money-maker and boost its user base.

Apple previously held talks with banks over a peer-to-peer payment service back in 2015, according reports, but they didn’t lead to anything. Now it is re-entering those negotiations with a view to launching a new service before the end of this year.

Services like Venmo make it incredibly easy to transfer cash to others without having to share bank details. All you need is an email address or phone number, and you can send money to split a bill, repay a loan, or even pay rent.

Recode adds that Apple has also held discussions with Visa regarding its own prepaid card service that would be operated by the Visa debit network. The card would reportedly be tied to the peer-to-peer payment service, allowing fans to spend the money they have received from others.

“Users could then add the debit card, which may only come in a digital form, to their Apple Pay digital wallet to use for tap-and-pay purchases at brick-and-mortar stores,” the report adds. “The card number could also be used to make purchases on websites and in apps.”

This debit card could be the only way for Apple to monetize its peer-to-peer service, since it’s unlikely it would charge customers to send money to one another — a service PayPal and Venmo offer for free. Apple currently makes 0.15 percent on each Apple Pay transaction.

But Apple could hit a big stumbling block. It’s thought that some banks aren’t pleased with Apple’s plans, and plan to “raise their concerns” with Visa during the annual credit card summit the company is hosting next week. It’s unclear whether this could dissuade Visa from partnering with Apple.

While some sources say Apple plans to unveil its peer-to-peer payment service by the end of the year, one warns the launch date has not been set, so there’s no telling if or when it will arrive.