Apple Pay Cash enters public beta testing

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Apple Inc. is nearing the rollout of Apple Pay Cash with the person-to-person payments service’s debut today as a public beta test, five months after the initial announcement.

Apple Pay Cash now appears as an option within the Messages app for newer iPhones and Apple Watches in the latest beta version of iOS, enabling users to spend funds with Apple Pay Cash in stores, within apps and on the web, Apple said in a notice to customers.

Apple Pay Cash requires users to log in via the cloud and add a credit or debit card to the wallet before sending funds through a partnership with Green Dot. Employees at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif.-based headquarters have been testing the service for weeks with the iPhone X, which uses Face ID to authenticate transactions.

P-to-P transfers using Apple Pay require both participants to have at least $10 loaded into the Apple Pay Cash card in the wallet, and two-factor authentication must be turned on, Apple said. There’s a 3% fee for sending funds via a credit card, while debit card transfers are free. The service is limited to the U.S.

Some observers expect Apple Pay Cash will ignite usage from a new base of consumers who previously shied away from other popular P-to-P services like Venmo due to lack of familiarity.

“Historically, P-to-P payments have suffered from a generation gap, with older Americans hesitating to download a new app to send and receive payments, according to our research,” said Kimberly Palmer, a credit card industry expert with the consumer website NerdWallet. “With Apple Pay Cash, the functionality will already be at any iPhone user’s fingertips, making it an easier technology to adopt."

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