Apple continues to make moves in the financial industry as it has been reported by The Wall Street Journal they are in discussions with U.S. banks to develop a payment service that would let users send money to one another from their phones rather than relying on cash or checks. This move comes a year after the launch of Apple Pay and would put the tech giant in competition with an increasing number of Silicon Valley firms trying to persuade Americans to ditch their wallets in favor of digital options.
The Apple service under consideration would allow consumers to send payments from their checking accounts to recipients through their Apple devices. It would likely be linked to the company’s Apple Pay system, which allows customers to make credit-card and debit-card payments with mobile phones.
A launch isn’t imminent, but The Wall Street Journal reported such a service could get off the ground next year. This year, Apple was granted a U.S. patent for an encrypted person-to-person payment system using electronic devices that communicate wirelessly.
If Apple’s plans go forward, the service would in direct competition with PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo platform, Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit, payment startup Square Inc. and Facebook Inc.
It also represents the latest attempt by banks and other providers to shift Americans away from cash and checks, which can be more costly and less efficient for the banks and less convenient for customers. Consumers continue to carry less cash these days and person-to-person services that allow users to send money to pay for services makes sense given today’s technology.
This seems like a natural extension of Apple’s current services and provides another hook into the consumer. We’ll continue to monitor this as it develops.