Apple may soon allow users to send money to their friends using iMessage and a number of other means. A recently published patent has laid bare the company's proposed implementation of mobile payment features such as peer-to-peer money transfer.
The patent, which was granted to Apple in December and applied for in September last year, reveals company's a new mobile payment system that will allow users to send money to their friends using the iMessage client. The patent filing shows two users talking in iMessage. The patent shows a 'Make Payment' button in the top right corner of the screen.
It isn't clear how exactly this feature would work, though we believe that the money would get credited to the recipient's associated bank account or Apple Pay wallet when a user clicks on the Make Payment button. The patent, first spotted by Quartz, also reveals company's intention of baking this feature into phone calls, calendar invites, and emails. How exactly it plans to go about it is not clear either.
"[...] a user interface for a communication application that includes a user interface indicative of ongoing communication (e.g., a phone call, a text or multimedia messaging conversation, an email thread) between a user of the device and one or more other participants is displayed. The user interface for the communication application includes a payment affordance," the patent filing reads.
Of course, this isn't a new idea. Facebook Messenger and WeChat instant messaging clients already offer these features. Snapchat, a popular messenger with teenagers, also offers this ability, as does BlackBerry Messenger.
The patent, however, adds weight to a Wall Street Journal report from last year which claimed that Apple was in talks with big banks such as J.P. Morgan to allow customers to send payments from their accounts to recipients using their Apple devices.
Do note that just because Apple has filed for a patent, it doesn't warrant the addition of the aforementioned features to its mobile payments system. The company, much like other tech giants, files for a range of patents every year and only a few of them make it to a finished product.