Apple Pay Cash has arrived as part of the iOS 11.2 beta, and early reviews suggest it’s really easy to use.
It’s essentially what was promised when Apple first announced the idea this past June: iOS users can text money to each other. A new App Drawer icon at the bottom of the iMessage window allows users to open up Apple Pay Cash, which then prompts the user to enter a value somewhere north of $1.00 (and not more than $3,000 per week). The user must also select whether they’d like to ‘Request’ or ‘Pay’ that amount. Then it’s time to send it.
If it’s a payment, the recipient gets it in the form of an iMessage text. Accepting an Apple Pay Cash transfer for the first time, the recipient is prompted to accept the terms of the system, and is then issued a virtual Apple Pay Cash card, where the received payment is stored. That money can then be used to make other payments, including standard Apple Pay transactions – at Starbucks, for example – or it can be transferred into a connected bank account.
Not only does Apple Pay Cash work on iPhone 6 devices or newer iPhones, but it also operates on Apple Watches running watchOS 4.2 or greater, and transactions can be done through Siri, Apple’s voice-based AI assistant.
As for the document reading feature that was speculated to be part of Apple Pay Cash’s setup process, that hasn’t quite materialized, though there is a watered-down version of sorts: When a user has sent or received $500, they will be prompted to verify their identity with some additional biographic details and an uploaded piece of photo ID. But so far no beta testers have reported a biometric verification component to this process.
Nor has biometric authentication figured into any of the beta transactions, it seems. While Apple Pay transactions require either a fingerprint scan via Touch ID or, on the new iPhone X, a Face ID face scan, early reports haven’t mentioned biometric authentication for Apple Pay Cash transactions. It’s a curious omission on Apple’s part, given the company’s usually strong focus on security; but given that this is just the beta version of a new kind of payments service for Apple devices, biometric authentication could be built into Apple Pay Cash later on as the platform matures.