Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has been talking with banks about a person-to-person payment service. Today, Quartz has published an update to that story: The service may be integrated into Apple’s native messaging app, iMessage, according to people familiar with the matter.
A move in this area isn’t new for Apple. Quartz spotted a “Senior Architect” job listing in 2014, which mentioned interest in the “money transfer” space. Now Apple is looking for financial partners for this service, so it can skip filing for money transmitter licences, according to people familiar with the matter. PayPal, Venmo, Facebook, and even AirBnb have such licences.
The possible reasons for Apple’s interest in the P2P space are (1) it’s a feature popular among millennials and (2) this could help the company attract more Apple Pay users. But from what the sources say, Apple isn’t looking to make money out of P2P payments.
One way Apple might add money transfer services to iOS is through iMessage, the proprietary messaging service, according to people who have discussed the program with Apple. It’s already one of the most used default apps on iPhones and is especially popular with the younger crowd—a survey by messaging service Jott found that 60% of teens say that it’s their preferred messaging app, according to TechCrunch.
Other tech players, such as Facebook, have already entered the market, but as Quartz points out, Facebook offers the service at a loss. Now it remains to be seen if Apple figures out how to make it break-even.