Apple has taken the first major step in launching it direct, person-to-person payments feature that will allow users to send and receive payments inside the iPhone’s messages app. The program will be launched in beta today. Users who are interested in being part of the beta program can opt in to use the public beta program. The program is limited to US users only who have iOS 11.2 on their devices.
Once you’ve opted for the program, an Apple Pay button will appear in the applications section in messages. This button will allow you to initiate a payment. You can also trigger payments by simply asking for money through a message or tapping on a message that has already been sent by another person asking for money.
If someone sends you money through the program for the first time, you must opt into the beta program to accept it. You will also get a virtual Apple Pay Cash card once you are in. The card will be used to send money and to make payments through Apple Pay.
You can add money to the card anytime using any of the accepted funding sources including credit cards and debit cards. The money received through the payment feature will be credited to your virtual Apple Pay Cash card instantly. You can use the money to make purchases or send it to someone else. You can also credit it to your bank if you want.
It’s important to note that this is not the first person-to-person payments system. Other systems such as Venmo, WeChat Pay, AliPay, and Square’s Cash are some of the pioneers in this space. The entry of Apple will, of course, add a new level of competition but we expect these companies to push back and retain a big portion of their current user base.
So, how will all this work? It’s actually a very simple payment process. For example, if someone owes you $100, all you need to do is send a message saying “Hey, remember the $100 you owe me?” On the other end, the receiver of the message will only need to tap the underlined dollar amount which in this case is $100 and send it.
In addition to this, you can also send a formal payment request using the Pay Cash app that will be available on your messages. If a payment is sent to you, you will need to accept it. However, you can go to settings and select to accept payments automatically.
In the last few years, Apple has worked very hard to integrate person-to-person payments into Apple Pay. This project began way back in 2012 and is finally being released. We will keep an eye on the beta program and see the reaction it gets among users over the coming few months. Nonetheless, this is a big step by Apple and it will surely add some value to the experience of using Apple Pay.