Money

Apple Just Made It Easier Than Ever To Pay Back Your Friends

by Jeremy Repanich

June 6, 2017

We’​ve all had those moments, out to eat with a group of friends, when the bill comes and someone is short a little cash and the restaurant doesn’​t want to split the bill a million ways on multiple cards. Or maybe, one friend buys concert tickets for everyone and people need to shell out. Then there’s that one roommate who pays the cable bill and needs to be reimbursed. There’s always that someone who says, “I’​ll hit you back later,”​ and who knows when “​later”​ will actually be.

Of course, you could always just Venmo the amount over, not only paying your friend, but trying to decode the reason the octopus emoji is the fifth most used in the app. But that’​s part of the problem with Venmo: It’​s social feed is a little too public for some people. Not to mention, it’s not great at managing user data on the back end, having been investigated for privacy violations.

That’s where Apple comes in. At it​s Worldwide Developer’​s Conference, the company introduced a version of person-to-person payments, building on top of its Apple Pay platform. Previously, Apple Pay allowed you to pay with your phone at businesses that accepted it. With the tap of your iPhone, you could buy your groceries or gas. However, you couldn’​t pay back your friend for that concert ticket or pizza they ordered. Until now.

Apple may have you ditching Venmo because it has made person-to-person payments nearly frictionless. With Apple’​s new iOS 11, the ability to pay people back will be in your messaging app, meaning you’​ll be able to text money to your friends. You can select the amount to pay and use fingerprint verification to authorize it, and off the money goes to the person you texted. It will load onto a prepaid cash card on their phone. The recipient can use that money in Apple Pay or dump it into the bank account connected to their phone.

So while this is not a new idea (after all, Apple didn’​t invent the mouse, graphic user interface, MP3 player, or internet-enabled phone), the company may have found a way to make an existing idea better—and life just a little bit easier.

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