With Apple Pay Cash launching in the US this month, we all expect the new P2P payments service to reach the UK shores soon. Yoyo’s technology chief, Ali Minaei, says that, while the tech giant is doing a bit of catching up when it comes to P2P payments, the launch of Apple Pay Cash will still be a game changer in the UK. He also believes it’s only a matter of time before the service is opened up to third-party apps.
I don’t think anyone was surprised when Apple announced it was moving into the P2P space with the launch of Apple Pay Cash. After all, mobile P2P is becoming big business.
According to Business Insider, US mobile P2P volume will reach $336 billion in 2021, worth 46% of total US P2P volume.
So what is Apple Pay Cash?
Apple Pay Cash will allow users to send money to their contacts by sending a text using iMessage. Users will also be able to command Siri to pay someone using the cards in their mobile wallet.
But for Apple, this is more about catching up rather than leading the way. A year ago, PayPal, Facebook and Snapchat (“Snapcash” – nice!) all introduced P2P payment methods. This year, Google added a P2P feature to its Gmail Android app, and PayPal went a step further by teaming up with Microsoft to enable money transfers through Skype.
What makes Apple stand out from the crowd is its numbers. iMessage is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. 200,000 iMessages are sent every second – equal to a whopping 63 quadrillion messages per year.
With Apple Pay Cash throwing its P2P hat into the ring, payment as a whole is fast becoming a crowded market – card, contactless, mobile payment, P2P. Oh, and cash of course!
This type of competition is often seen as a good thing – it tends to drive innovation and leads to better products and services.
But core to all this must be the consumer’s payment experience for which competition can pose somewhat of a challenge for P2P payment.
Let me give you an example:
Last week, I booked and paid for a 5-a-side football pitch for me and my work colleagues. After the game, I sent an email round with a PayPal.me link (I used to work for PayPal so I’m still a bit biased) so they could each pay their share of the booking.
Out of 10 of us, only two used PayPal. The other eight were asking if we could use Monzo, pingit, Skype – you name it. Some soon got fed up of the email string and just wanted to give me the cash – completely taking away any benefit that P2P payment might offer.
Now, I’m not saying that Apple tearing into the P2P market is going to solve these issues in an instant – for starters, Apple Pay Cash will only be mutually available to iMessage and Siri users (people who buy Apple, basically).
But, what’s currently missing in P2P payment is the ability for consumers to transfer funds wherever they please, regardless of the payment method.
As I’ve said before, Apple is probably most famous for being the pioneer in its ability to change consumer behaviour and set new cultures.
With this in mind, I believe it will only be a matter of time before Apple Pay Cash is opened up to third-party apps.
All the big brands out there know that user experience is a fundamental part of adoption. They also know, sometimes through gritted teeth, that Apple is seen as the leader when it comes to user experience, and more importantly, user adoption.
So if you are a Skype fan, addicted to FB messenger, prefer PayPal or like to stick with Monzo when transferring money, I think Apple Pay Cash will soon be seamlessly included into all these P2P options.
These days, our mobile devices are central to virtually everything we do and I think Apple is about to make mobile imperative to how we access funds, pay for goods and transfer money.
Ali Minaei joined Yoyo in August 2017. He has more than 15 years’ experience in tech engineering and, before Yoyo, spent a year and a half as head of UK engineering for British payday loan company Wonga.
Before than, Ali spent five years at PayPal, starting off as an EMEA innovations and labs engineer, before rising through the ranks to become head of integration architecture in 2015.