Apple May Launch Venmo Competitor

Apple is in talks with banks to launch a mobile payments service, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The product would compete with Venmo, the mobile peer-to-peer service from PayPal.

The platform, which could be launched as soon as 2016, would link bank accounts with Apple devices. Users could instantly transfer money from one person’s checking account to another’s.

The report says that J.P. Morgan, Capital One, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo have all had conversations with Apple. It is unclear at what stage the negotiations are, but a “launch isn’t imminent.”

The new service would likely be compatible with Apple Pay, the mobile payments offering available on iPhones and Apple Watches. Launched last year, Apple Pay works with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and other major credit card providers.

A spokesperson for Venmo told TechCrunch that “while we don’t comment on rumors or speculation, at PayPal, we welcome any development that encourages people to address the awkwardness of dealing with cash when paying friends or family back. We have multiple services to make that easy including both PayPal and Venmo. Our services work across multiple devices and Operating Systems, as well as online.”

Competition in the mobile payments space is heating up, with Square on the verge of an IPO. Square has a peer-to-peer offering called Square Cash, which works similarly to Venmo. Google and Facebook also recently entered the category.

PayPal shares traded down 2% on the news.

Apple declined to comment.