Apple Pay Cash is finally starting to roll out to users in the States, bringing the ability to send other iOS users payments directly through iMessage. The update is arriving piece by piece to those who’ve downloaded iOS 11.2, which launched two days back with a not-yet-live version of the feature.
Apple Pay Cash was announced back in June at WWDC. However, the company added ahead of iOS 11’s September launch that the feature would be “coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4,” and while it was intended to launch alongside 11.2, this weekend’s early arrival of the operating system left it behind, as the company worked to push the software live, seemingly in order to address an issue that was causing some iPhones to randomly reboot.
The new feature is a proprietary take on mobile payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash, allowing money to be transferred to friends and family in a message or using Siri. Money sent is drawn from the credit or debit card tied to a user’s Apple Wallet. When it’s received on the other side, it shows up as an Apple Pay Cash card — sort of a virtual gift card, also stored in the Apple Wallet.
That money can then be transferred to the bank or kept on the device as a gift card, where it can be spent anywhere that accepts Apple Pay. It’s an added convenience, bringing all of that functionality directly to iMessage, rather than having to mess about with a third-party app. But for Apple, it’s also a way to rope in users who have been reluctant to install Apple Pay, and keep people in the iMessage ecosystem.
The feature appears to still be rolling out in pieces here in the States. No word yet on a time frame for international expansion.