With Apple Pay's release just over a year in the rear-view mirror, the iPhone company is reportedly working on a new peer-to-peer payment platform the would allow users to send cash to one another as easily as sending a text message. The service, which could come online as early as next year, would offer native competition to the likes of PayPal's Venmo and Square's Square Cash.
According to the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources close to the talks, Apple is currently in the negotiation stage with several U.S. banks, including Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo to iron out details of how the payment platform would work.
Apple joins a host of other companies experimenting with peer-to-peer payments. Besides market leaders Venmo and Square Cash, which processed $2.4 billion and just over $1 billion, respectively, last year, companies like Facebook Messenger, Google and even Snapchat have already dipped their toes into the peer-to-peer payments waters.
To date, however, few of these efforts have directly resulted in revenue for the companies, according to The New York Times. Square Cash and Venmo are both free to use when linked to a customer's checking account, and consumers are charged only a small fee when using a credit card. Instead, analysts say services like peer-to-peer payments are more aimed to increasing customer loyalty and driving deeper levels of brand engagement.
According to data from the research groups PYMNTS.com and InfoScout, as of October less than 17 percent of iPhone 6 and 6s users were using Apple Pay. With that in mind, it is likely that Apple's move to enter the market is less about profits as much as it is a way to drive adoption for its digital wallet features.
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