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In a move “square”-ly aimed at competitors like PayPal and Venmo, Apple took to the stage at WWDC 2017 earlier today to announce an update to Apple Pay. Instead of just acting as a point-of-sale (POS) system at retailers, Apple Pay will soon allow you to send and receive money between friends too. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to work quite the way you think it would.

Details are a little sketchy and vague at this point, but from what I can gather, sending your buddy $20 for your share of the lunch bill won’t involve tapping your iPhones together in a monetary embrace. Instead, the peer-to-peer payment system looks like it’s going to work through iMessage. I guess you “attach” the money in a similar way that you might attach a photo, except there’d necessarily be some Touch ID action involved.

And that’s not the only curve ball either. Apple also made mention of something called the Apple Pay Cash Card. This might mean that when you receive money from your peers, it gets stored on this virtual card inside of Apple Pay. Those funds can then be sent to other Apple Pay users or spent at supporting retailers. There’s no specific mention of whether or not you can actually transfer those amounts out to your own bank accounts.

Another part of the transaction that’s still missing is any mention of fees. It’s pretty safe to assume that there will be some sort of fee structure in place and it will likely be competitive with other P2P payment systems. Maybe it’s free if you’re paying from your Apple Pay Cash Card, but they’ll charge you if you send cash via your connected credit card.


In any case, the new P2P aspect of Apple Pay will get rolled out with iOS 11 later this year.

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