Peer-to-peer Apple Pay launches today, in public beta

Apple Pay Cash will launch in final form with iOS 11.2 and WatchOS 4.2 "later this fall," but for now Apple's letting others try it out in beta with other beta testers.

Apple's peer-to-peer payment system will compete against other systems like PayPal, which works in Facebook Messenger.
James Martin/CNET

Soon, you'll be able to make payments to friends on an iPhone or Apple Watch via Apple Pay. In the meantime, a public beta will let "friends and family" test it pre-launch.

A new public beta of iOS 11.2 launches today with Apple Pay Cash inside. Anyone can try sending payments with it, but the person receiving payments also has to have the iOS 11.2 public beta installed. Your device will need to have the iOS 11 public beta installed, which can be done here, but I'd suggest you avoid putting any device you own into an iOS public beta unless you really need to for tech coverage or app testing.

Apple Pay Cash works like Venmo and other peer-to-peer payment apps, but is baked into iOS. New users don't need to sign up for the service, and cash cards can be received without any setup needed. Here's how it will work.

Payments can be made via debit card or credit cards already set up in Apple Pay (debit cards are free, credit cards will have a small fee attached). Received cash cards can be used immediately, or transferred into a bank account with a standard-issue waiting period for the transaction to complete.

Other details on Apple Pay Cash:

  • A minimum of $10 needs to be loaded into the Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet at a time.
  • Paying other people can happen in Messages (via an Apple Pay app), through Siri, or in Contacts (a "$" logo will trigger payment requests or sending money to other people).
  • It needs two-factor authentication turned on.
  • You'll need an iPhone 6 or later to use it, or iPad Air 2 or later.
  • Peer-to-peer Apple Pay will be US-based at first.

The final version of Apple Pay Cash will work across iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.

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