Cable company Comcast went live with its previously announced integration of Apple Pay for bill payments, allowing Xfinity customers using Apple Pay to skip the hassle of manually entering card information or sending checks by mail, reports 9to5Mac.
The feature will initially roll out to select users of the Xfinity My Account iOS app, but will become available to all customers in the coming weeks.
Bill pay could be a massive payments opportunity for Apple. US adults paid $3.9 trillion across roughly 14.7 billion bills in 2016, according to data from ACI Worldwide and Aite Group. For context, that's the equivalent of 81% of total retail spending in the US, according to the US census. The study also found that the most popular bill payment portal customers turn to is biller websites — which Apple Pay is moving toward with this new partnership.
Should Apple broaden to more billers, and move from apps to websites, it could be positioned to siphon a growing share of a multi-trillion-dollar space.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, defined as informal payments made from one person to another, have long been a prominent feature of the payments industry.
That’s because individuals transfer funds to each other on a regular basis, whether it's to make a recurring payment, reimburse a friend, or split a dinner bill.
Cash and checks have historically dominated the P2P ecosystem, and they’re still a popular tool. But as smartphones become a primary computing device, top digital platforms, like Venmo and Google Wallet, have enabled customers to turn away from cash and make those payments digitally with ease. Over the next few years, though overall P2P spend will remain constant, a shift to mobile payments across the board and increased spending power from the digital-savvy younger generation will cause the mobile P2P industry to skyrocket.
That poses a problem for firms providing these services, though. Historically, most of these players have taken on mobile P2P at a loss because it’s a low-friction way to onboard users and won’t catch on unless it’s free, or largely free, to consumers. But as it becomes more popular and starts to eat into these firms’ traditional streams of revenue, finding ways to monetize is increasingly important. That could mean moving P2P functionality into more profitable environments, leveraging existing networks of friends to encourage spending, or offering value-added services at a nominal fee.
Jaime Toplin, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on mobile P2P payments that examines what’s driving this shift to mobile P2P and explains why companies need to find a way to capitalize on it quickly. It discusses how firms can use the tools they have to gain in the P2P space, details several cases, and evaluates which strategies might be the most effective in monetizing these platforms.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Consumers still want mobile P2P services, and they’re turning to them. Individuals pay their peers on a regular basis, and as smartphones are increasingly used as computing devices, these consumers look to such services for fast and easy ways to pay.
- Monetizing P2P is more important than ever. Initially, P2P was a valuable onboarding tool for companies, and when it was still a small segment, taking it on at little value or a loss didn’t have major implications. But as volume grows and user bases scale fast, finding ways to monetize quickly should be a priority for firms looking to stay ahead.
- New technology could put some apps ahead of their peers. P2P continues to rely on networks, especially for informal, social transactions. But rather than having a large network, it’s becoming important for firms to understand their user bases and the networks within them. This means that chat apps, and leveraging bot and AI technology, may offer a distinct advantage.
In full, the report:
- Forecasts the growth of the P2P market, and what portion of that will come from mobile channels, through 2021.
- Explains the factors driving that growth and details why it will come from increased usage, not increased spend per user.
- Evaluates why mobile P2P isn’t profitable for companies, and details several cases of attempts to monetize.
- Assesses which of these strategies could be most successful, and what companies need to leverage to succeed in the space.
- Provides context from other markets to explain shifting trends.
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