As JPMorgan Chase gears up for the launch of the merchant-friendly Chase Pay wallet, it's taking the opportunity to freshen its approach to P-to-P mobile payments.

Additionally, the bank's Early Warning/clearXchange P-to-P venture is gathering more momentum, giving Chase another reason to tweak its QuickPay service to make it easier to enroll, setup contacts and handle payments.

"Customers made $20 billion in P-to-P transactions through Chase QuickPay last year – more than double what any fintech company reported. Mobile and digital usage is growing among all our demographics," said Gavin Michael, head of Digital for JPMorgan Chase, in an email to PaymentsSource.

Through an update that's expected to be complete by the end of June, consumers will be able to enroll in Chase QuickPay through the Chase Mobile app instead of having to go online and enroll in a browser. The new process is designed to accommodate the 75% of QuickPay transactions that are already done through the Chase Mobile app.

Also, the screens and flows will be streamlined and made more intuitive. Consumers will be able to choose directly from their phone contacts, rather than punching in the information, and will be able to see images of their recipients if they are already saved in their contact list. Additionally, QuickPay settings will be added to the My Setting page in the Chase Mobile app.

Chase is making these updates to address a fast growing digital market, and the move toward real time transfers on the clearXchange network, a bank-led consortium that includes Bank of America, U.S. Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other institutions. Bank of America and U.S. Bank have announced real-time functionality for person-to-person payments on clearXchange, with most of the initiative's remaining participants expected to follow suit in the next few days. Chase has not made a formal announcement, but went live with real-time person to person transfers on the network on Monday.

"Real-time P-to-P is rolling out to other clearXchange banks in the near future – this will represent 60% of all U.S. consumers with mobile banking apps," Michael said.

The QuickPay enhancements were designed specifically for Chase. Early Warning's members typically develop their own digital payments initiatives that can be used along with clearXchange, which allows account transfers to be directed to a recipient's email or mobile phone number.

Chase anticipates a large addressable market. More than 70 million Americans currently make mobile P-to-P payments and that is projected to reach to 125 million by 2020, up 78% from today, the bank said. And Chase P-to-P volume continues to grow – customers made $20 billion in P-to-P transactions through Chase QuickPay last year. The bank is on track to have 40% year-over-year growth around Chase QuickPay.

Early Warning did not comment by deadline for this story. As other member banks announce real-time P-to-P functionality, it enhances the venture's quest to take the lead in the development of faster payments processing in the U.S.  

Speaking at this week's Morgan Stanley Financials conference in New York, Wells Fargo senior executive vice president and CFO John Shrewsberry said many of the "larger banks" will "recommit" to the future of Early Warning's clearXchange.

"It is a bank-to-bank, very easy to use, at least from our perspective, generally free way for person-to-person payments to happen in real time. I don't know why anybody would use any other way to do it, frankly, if the bank was offering it for free because I'm safe, I'm secure, it's easy, I'm there," Shrewsberry said.

There are several payment providers with significant scale that are positioning themselves to be the preferred platform for faster payments, including FIS, most debit networks, and ACH providers, said Tim Sloane, vice president of innovation at Mercator Advisory Group.

"Each participant has a different existing constituency and each have different technical and business problems in making the conversion to anything like real time," Sloane said. "Of course the major sticking point is unlikely to be problems in the network, the major challenge will be associated with the banks that receive and send real-time payments since most implement account management technology (core systems) that are incapable of operating in real time."

Pricing is going to be interesting to watch, said Sarah Grotta, director of the debit advisory service at Mercator. "Consumers say they are willing to pay for P-to-P, but with non-FI solutions in market offering services for free, that’s an uphill battle," Grotta said.

U.S. Bank charges $6.95 for real-time payments, though the bank did suggest it was flexible to adapt to the actions of the other banks.

"The three banks that [are] going to be out in the next few days [on clearXchange]...Likely they'll come out free and if they do then we'll back down. I'll be disappointed and I'll be a martyr about it because I'll take the opportunity for us to, as a banking industry, to have value-based processing and capability," said Richard Davis, U.S. Bancorp's Chairman and CEO, at the Morgan Stanley event in New York.

Kristin Broughton contributed to this story.

 

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