Apple Inc. is exploring a payment service that would let users zap money to one another from their phones.
It is in talks with US banks to develop the service that does away with cash or checks in person-person transactions.
The move puts the tech giant in competition with an increasing number of Silicon Valley firms trying to persuade Americans to ditch their wallets in favor of digital options, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A small but growing number of Americans are already starting to embrace such services allowing consumers to pay baby sitters, split dinner checks and share other bills.
It is unclear if any of the banks have struck an agreement with Apple.
Key details remain in flux, including technical aspects that would determine how the service would tie into the banking industry’s existing infrastructure.
If Apple’s plans go forward, the service would likely be similar to PayPal Holdings Inc. ’s Venmo platform, which is popular among younger consumers to do things such as pitch in on gifts and share rent payments with roommates.
It isn’t clear how Apple will make money on the service but the move is another effort by the firm to tighten its hold on customers by getting them to use their iPhones for everyday needs, including financial services.
It also represents the latest attempt by banks and other providers to shift Americans away from cash and checks, which can be more costly and less efficient for the banks and less convenient for customers.
Those methods are still the most popular ways people send money to friends and pay service providers such as handymen.
The Apple service under consideration would allow consumers to send payments from their checking accounts to recipients through their Apple devices.
It would likely be linked to the company’s Apple Pay system, which allows customers to make credit-card and debit-card payments with mobile phones.
A launch isn’t imminent but one person said such a service could get off the ground next year.
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