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06.06.17

Green Dot Aids Apple’s Bid to Bite into P2P

Apple has made a bold foray into the P2P money transfer market—and Green Dot is helping the tech giant in its bid to unseat Venmo and other established players in the increasingly crowded space.

Announced this week at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, the money transfer service runs through Apple Messages, where it will be automatically installed in the next version of the company’s iOS operating system, due to roll out later this year. The feature will enable iPhone and iPad users to send money from linked bank accounts via messages.

Green Dot’s involvement comes in the other component of the service—the Apple Pay Cash Card. The prepaid program manager and issuer is partnering with Apple on the digital payment card, which can be loaded with funds received via the P2P transfer service and subsequently used to make purchases via Apple Pay.

The money transfer feature—which will be available only in the U.S.—could be Apple’s shot across the bow of Venmo, Square Cash, Facebook and other P2P providers currently jockeying for space in the fast-evolving vertical. Apple’s brand loyalty and the growing presence of Apple Pay among retailers could give the service a leg up against the competition. However, the feature being restricted to Apple’s own devices will limit the potential audience, leaving it at a disadvantage against format-agnostic services.

Meanwhile, the bank-backed Zelle Network in April released data showing that its platform processed more than $55 billion in P2P payments in 2016—more than three times the $17.6 billion processed by Venmo during that year, according to data from Venmo parent company PayPal. With support from more than 20 banks and credit unions giving Zelle access to more than 85 million U.S. customers, the consortium’s standalone money transfer app should be yet another P2P force to be reckoned with when it rolls out later this year.

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