Venmo, Square, and Google Wallet may have a new competitor. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks with several major banks to develop a phone-to-phone payment platform that would work via mobile app.
According to the Journal’s Robin Sidel and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Apple is in talks with JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Wells Fargo, and US Bancorp. Details of the proposed project are still sketchy, but the functionality seems to center around users sending payments to each other via app from either their bank account, debit card, or credit card.
Earlier this year, Apple received a U.S. patent for an encrypted payment system with electronic devices that communicate wirelessly. No start date was recorded for the proposed project.
Electronic payments are a hot area for tech giants, who see them as a way to build ecosystems that lock users and merchants into using a platform of convenience. Facebook recently introduced user-to-user payments into their Messenger app, and Google rebooted their NFC payment Google Wallet app as–yes–a person-to-person payment service.
Apple, Facebook, and Google all face a major challenge: Venmo (which is part of PayPal) has a considerable lead on user adoption because of its easy-to-use interface and aggressive marketing campaigns.
If Apple does launch this service, it will enjoy an advantage thanks to its tightly controlled iPhone experience, but then it has to sell tens of millions of iPhone users on the idea that they should use their phone as a credit and debit card substitute.