As people line up to give Apple their hard earned cash for an iPhone X, the company has announced its smartphones are now able to send money to people using its Apple Pay Cash feature, which was announced in June and released in iOS 11.2 Beta on Tuesday. The new person-to-person payment tool adds a Apple Pay Cash card to iOS’s Wallet app, and lets friends, family, and other contacts send and receive funds via the Messages app.
Paying a person is as easy. Simply chat with your friend like you normally would about who owes whom what, then tap on the dollar amount within the sent message. That triggers a drawer of sorts to spring up from the bottom of the iPhone’s screen, showing the amount of money being discussed, along with two buttons: “Request” and “Pay.” Just tap on the appropriate one, and the transaction gets going.
If you’re the payer, the funds will come out of your Apple Pay Cash card balance, and if you’re the payee, the funds will make your balance higher. There are no fees to send or receive money, but the program can cost you, depending on how you fund your account. Linking your account to a debit card is free, but there is a 3% fee if you fund your account with a credit card.
While Apple Pay Cash sounds like a great alternative to paper money, the service has some limits. For instance, when it comes to to sending and receiving money, $1 is the minimum transfer amount. Also, in funding your Apple Pay Cash account, you must add a minimum of $10, and you can’t make a transaction over $3,000 (including sending money back to your bank). In addition, you cannot add more than $10,000 during a 7-day period, and Apple Pay Cash accounts cannot hold a balance higher than $20,000.
Apple is relatively late to the person-to-person payment game, with competitors like Venmo, Square, and Paypal already having released solutions. But by pairing its payment solution with the iMessage platform, the company is likely to do well because users won’t have to download a new app. However, Apple Pay Cash is currently only available to iPhone owners who download the new iOS 11.2 Beta, an in-development operating system that is slated to have its final, wide-scale release later this year.
Apple was also late to contactless payments in October 2014, when it launched Apple Pay, its solution for using its iOS to pay companies for products and services. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook says Apple Pay’s usage has been growing, especially as chains like McDonalds and Chipotle have signed on to use it.