At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) the experience maker announced that person-to-person Apple Pay payments would become a thing. Since then details have been vague and the service has yet to officially launch. With today’s public beta iOS 10.3 release you can now start to test payments through Apple’s payment system.

This new option allows you to use Apple Pay to pay people through iMessage. When you send people money it will be loaded on to an Apple Pay Cash Card (powered by Green Dot). Those funds can then be withdrawn to a bank account, sent to someone else, or used for Apple Pay purchases.

This service isn’t entirely free however, besides requiring an Apple device you may be charged a fee:

  • Debit: 0% fee
  • Credit: 3% fee

As I mentioned you have a couple of barriers for using the service that may not open up as many possibilities as you think. First you’ll need an Apple device that supports Apple Pay and it will likely have to be updated to the latest 10.3 release to be able to receive payments.  Next, you’ll also need the person you want to send money to have the updated software and abilities as your device. With all of that out-of-the-way then you’ll have to use iMessage and send them money.

The whole payment system is powered by Green Dot who is notorious for shutting down accounts with less than honest intentions of using the service. It however is unreported on how Apple and Green Dot will handle these shutdowns and will have to wait to see what comes of it.

Other things to note is what Apple considers a “debit card” and how many cards you can cycle into your Apple Pay account. There is the possibility that some gift cards that act closely to debit cards may be able to use and could be an interesting way to liquidate cards.

There are too many unknowns if this is really a good thing or not, for the casual payment it’s probably another easy way to transfer money to compete with Venmo and similar apps. However for the user who wants to utilize it for manufactured spending we will have to wait for more data points to be present. As Apple is my main ecosystem that I use for my mobile devices including laptops I’d rather not risk anything too major until we know more information.