Soon, you could send money your friends money from iMessage or a number of other apps on your iPhone.
According to a December 2015 patent filing unearthed by Quartz’ Ian Kar, Apple may soon be making a push into the payments space by letting you send your friends money right inside apps on your phone like iMessage.
The patent filing shows two users talking in iMessage.
There’s a “Make Payment” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Presumably, when you tap that button, you could send money to a friend — likely using your banking or credit card information stored with Apple Pay.
If Apple were to include payments inside its messaging service, it would join a bunch of other messaging apps that have integrated similar features.
Apple would ostensibly be competing with payments platforms like Venmo and Square.
On Snapchat, you can use Snapcash to pay your friends; on Facebook Messenger, you can connect your credit card and make payments to people. In Asia, WeChat and Alipay dominate the money transfer and payments spaces.
If Apple ends up rolling out a payments platform, it wouldn’t exactly be shocking.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was in talks with big banks like J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo to develop a mobile payments service that would “allow consumers to send payments from their checking accounts to recipients through their Apple devices.” You’d have to link your credit or debit card up to Apple Pay, and then you could transfer money with your contacts.
Just because Apple has filed a patent for payments doesn’t necessarily mean it’s looking to make any dramatic changes any time soon. Apple files lots of patents, in part to protect its ideas, but also as a marketing tool. Previously, the company has patented zany-sounding projects like a digital screen that can be rolled up like a newspaper.
We reached out to Apple for comment about the patent.