Apple Has Deeper Plans for Mobile Payments

May 1, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

We all knew that Apple had some significant ambitions in the mobile payments field, having been a large part of starting the field in the first place with Apple Pay.

Yet even after it started, many wondered why Apple was seemingly ignoring the notion of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in favor of a strictly consumer-to-business approach. That may be about to change, as new reports suggest Apple’s got a whole lot in mind for the payments field.

The biggest news is that Apple, at last report, may have a new plan for a P2P service to be announced at the upcoming iPhone event this fall. Rumored to be called “Apple Cash” or something similar, there’s some conflict as to whether or not this announcement will formally happen, or if this is just something that Apple’s considering for the future.

It isn’t the first time we’ve heard about such a service; Apple was previously seen in talks with several banks better than a year ago, with an eye toward creating such a service. What’s more, that isn’t the only concept Apple’s working on. New reports suggest that there may be a new partnership with Visa in the works to help produce some of the infrastructure around this service.

Essentially, the reports note, users would get a “digital pre-paid card,” which could be used anywhere that Visa is accepted, but would be built into Apple’s P2P operations. So one user could generate a $5 Apple Cash card, for example, and give it to another user, who could then spend the $5 card anywhere Visa is taken.

It’s a clever enough idea, and it certainly cuts the bank out of the equation, a point banks may not want to see. Since this is still an early-stage project, any part of it could change, up to and including the whole thing. Still, Apple taking a slot in the P2P payments stakes could be a game-changer.

It would almost certainly be a problem for Venmo, because who knows how much of that market would jump ship given the opportunity?

We’ll have a ways to go before this comes out, but short term, Apple may well have a new P2P application coming soon that could be a serious jolt to the market.