Apple Mobile Payment System
Apple reportedly is in talks with U.S. banks over a mobile payment system to allow its iPhone users to send money to one another easily. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple Pay is Apple’s main personal finance product, but it soon might not be the only one. Apple is reportedly looking to expand its finance offerings and potentially launch a Venmo competitor, Recode reports.

Recode said Apple has been conducting meetings with companies in the payment space about tentatively launching a Venmo-like program. With the service, iPhone users would be able to send money directly to and from other iPhone users. At the moment, the timeline for the program is still fluid, as the program could potentially launch this year.

Read: Apple Adds More Than 20 U.S. Banks To Apple Pay

Apple is also looking into launching a debit card-like prepaid card that could be tied to the payment service. Recode said the card could be digital-only and a major point of focus for Apple’s Venmo program — since Apple likely wouldn’t charge for sending money from one person to another, it would instead make its money on purchases made with the debit card.

If the rumored program, which has seen several starts and pauses, ends up happening, it’ll be a way for Apple to bolster Apple Pay. Apple Pay, which lets iPhone users tie their credit cards or debit cards to an Apple account, has been thoroughly integrated into iPhones through iOS and Apple Wallet.

However, the service has struggled to make a significant impact on Apple’s bottom line. The Wall Street Journal reported Apple analyst Gene Munster estimates Apple Pay saw around $36 billion in transactions during 2016. In addition, adoption rates for Apple Pay at major vendors can also vary and the service has also seen stiff competition from providers like Samsung Pay. Google Wallet smartphone-payment option ran into similar hurdles with adoption rates during its early rollout and was eventually discontinued in 2016.

Systems like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay generally rely on near-field communications and hardware to process payments. To make payments, you have to put your phone near a payment console during the checkout process.

Read: How To Use Apple Pay And Samsung Pay

Outside direct mobile payments, Apple’s peer-to-peer payment system also would be far from the first option on the market. Along with Venmo, the market also includes competitors like Square and other direct-payment options from services like Facebook and Gmail.

For companies like Samsung and Apple, mobile payment options have not necessarily been an easy sell to consumers. In most cases, they’ve generally found minimal upsides to using a smartphone to make payments versus a traditional credit card or debit card. With the number of competing payment options via smartphone, market fragmentation — where providers may accept one form of payment but not another — has been a similar hurdle for smartphone payment systems to mass market penetration.

However, the benefits for smartphone manufacturers are clear, as payment services options are both another way to differentiate themselves from the competition and tie themselves more closely to day-to-day needs.

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