Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2016, 05:10
Category: Android, Finance, iOS, News, Software
You can now make Circle-based payments via iMessage in iOS 10.
Apple has tied in with Circle, the social payments provider, and included iMessage-based functionality that allows payments to be quickly sent between users.
This allows the company to capitalize on its vision for more activity in social payments, which have taken off in China through the WeChat app. Circle chief executive Jeremy Allaire, who previously founded a number of successful ventures including online video platform Brightcove, says that after WeChat opened itself up for third-party developers to build apps on top of it, Wechat saw explosive growth as it added business services, utilities, payments and other services offered by third-party apps. Now, he says Apple is doing something similar with iMessage.
Circle is one of several companies quietly using the Bitcoin network for efficiency and low-cost and bypassing the traditional banking system when it can. While it charges nothing to send money and does not plan to, it makes a small amount of the foreign exchange spread — 0.25 percent as opposed to 3-4 percent for bank transfers and roughly 1 to 2 percent for newer fintech challengers such TransferWise and Xoom — and someday may offer other products such as P2P loans on which it could generate revenue.
To use Circle, an account holder must link a debit card. Payments will only work between iOS 10 users and the receiver can cash out their payment to their bank account or a Bitcoin wallet. Recipients on Android or iOS 9 will be able to cash out following a url. Recipients whose local currency isn’t USD, GBP or euro will receive Bitcoin, which they can exchange for local currency.
Unlike SquareCash, another P2P payments provider that is launching within iMessage, Circle can transfer money internationally, while SquareCash is available only domestically. The company is also exploring additional features in Circle for iMessage, such as group payments or creating a Circle account within the iMessage app.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.