Apple debuted iOS 11, the newest version of its mobile operating system, at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) earlier this week. Among other things, the update included a key payments feature: The firm will finally offer peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer through Apple Pay, its mobile wallet offering.

Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s P2P offering.

  • It’s attached to Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet. Users can load a credit or debit card into Apple Wallet, which houses Apple Pay, in order to use the service, according to Fortune, which implies that the offering will likely be enabled by any issuer partnered with Apple Pay. Debit card transfers will be free, while credit card transfers will carry a 3% fee — a format comparable to competitors’ offerings, according to Recode. It doesn't seem that direct bank linkage will be enabled. 
  • It’s housed in iMessage, the firm’s over-the-top (OTT) messaging offering. The product will appear automatically in iMessage, according to Recode, and will allow users to send money to, or receive money from, their peers. Right now, the service will be supported by iPhones and iPads running iOS 11 when it launches this fall, as well as the Apple Watch. There's been no mention of OS X support, but it's plausible there could be a Messages integration when Apple launches its new version of OS X. 
  • And it comes with a new product called the Apple Pay Cash Card. Users will gain access to a “digital debit card,” issued by prepaid card firm Green Dot, when they use the service. That will function as the service’s “balance” — users can keep transfers on the card, or deposit them back into their bank account. But it also works like a contactless prepaid card, allowing users to pay using that balance in-store or on the web via Apple Pay. 

How does Apple’s product stack up to competitors' offerings? It’s relatively similar, offering a hybrid of the features that its closest peers bring to the table.

apple pay p2p infographicBI Intelligence

Apple likely hopes to capitalize on the rising popularity [...]