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Apple Pay Cash Debuts In Challenge to Venmo

December 5, 2017, 6:07 PM UTC

There’s a new way to send cash to friends and family.

Apple Pay Cash, the tech giant’s rival to services like Venmo and Square Cash, is now available to people who have iOS 11.2 on their iPhones. The feature, which Apple debuted Monday, lets people digitally transfer cash into another user’s Apple Pay wallet for things like splitting a bar bill after a night on the town in addition to paying for purchases at online and physical retailers that accept Apple Pay.

Apple initially announced Apple Pay Cash earlier this year when it unveiled new Apple Pay features in iOS 11. Although Apple Pay lets users make purchases with credit or debit cards attached to their accounts, Apple Pay Cash allows people to transfer money between each other.

So, if you want to split that bar bill or contribute your part to a gift for an office colleague, Apple Pay users can direct the service to deduct a set amount of cash from their accounts and send it to the recipient. The transaction is completed entirely inside the iMessages messaging app built into iOS 11.

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Exactly what this means for Apple’s competitors, however, is unknown. Venmo and Square Cash are already popular for people to quickly sending cash to each other and have, until now, been available on the iPhone without any competition from Apple. But now that Apple Pay Cash is built into the iOS operating system, Apple’s competitors may be at a disadvantage.

To use Venmo or Square Cash, users must download the free apps from the App Store. While the process of actually sending money is about the same as Apple’s, the added step of downloading a service could turn some users away.

Over the years, Apple has successfully killed off a number of apps by building rival features into its operating system. Flashlight apps were once big; now they’re dead. And although Apple hasn’t defeated competing streaming music providers like Spotify with its built-in Apple Music, it at least makes many users think seriously about using its built-in music streaming app instead.

For now, though, Venmo and Square Cash must deal with the new competition.