A new report suggests that Apple is working on a peer-to-peer payment app that would compete with PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo.
Apple is supposedly in talks with banks to develop the app, which could launch sometime next year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The news comes several months after VentureBeat reported Apple filed a patent for peer-to-peer payments technology.
There are a slew of tech players jumping into P2P payments, including Google, Facebook, and Square. But of all the companies involved, PayPal has had the most success with person-to-person transactions through its social app Venmo. In the last quarter, Venmo processed $2.1 billion in payments volume, up from $1.6 billion the quarter prior.
That success has led PayPal to open Venmo up to mobile merchants. The company is launching a function called Pay with Venmo, which will allow all of PayPal’s merchants to accept Venmo as a payment method on the Web and in mobile apps.
Though there is a lot of movement in this space, mobile payments have yet to take off with consumers. Only five percent of the world’s 650 million NFC-enabled smartphones will be used at least once monthly to make purchases at stores by the end of 2015, predicted a Deloitte report on technology and media. That’s a big leap from last year, when roughly 0.5 percent of people were using their phones for making transactions, according to the same report. Still, five percent is a very small slice of all people who can make contactless payments.
Since launching, Apple Pay hasn’t fared especially well. A recent survey from PYMNTS and InfoScout noted that 16.6 percent of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users have used Apple Pay once, up from 15 percent in March. A little more than a third of users who have tried Apple Pay use it regularly — a figure that’s in keeping with Deloitte’s prediction. In surveys, like the one from PYMNTS and InfoScout, people often say that they either forget to use contactless payments like Apple Pay when they’re shopping or that it’s no easier to use than swiping a credit card. Meaning, mobile payments aren’t yet relevant to consumers.
That will likely change, especially as banks realize the security benefits mobile payments offer over traditional plastic cards. Already Chase, Capital One, and MasterCard are nudging consumers with their own mobile app-based payment options.
In the meantime, a move into peer-to-peer payments could help Apple to find an audience more immediately. And if there’s one thing we know about Apple, it’s that the company isn’t always first to innovate, but it tends to blow the competition away.