How does Apple Pay work? The new "cash card" lets you send and receive money

Apple Pay
Source: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

At Monday's WWDC 2017 keynote address, Apple unveiled a surprisingly useful function for Apple Pay: sending cash to your friends in a text message. Enter Apple's new person-to-person payment system, conveniently located in the Messages app. How does it work, how do you use it, how does it fare against Venmo and what is this newfangled "cash card"? Here's everything you need to know.

Apple Pay vs. Venmo: PayPal's popular Venmo app has been pretty much the only socially acceptable way to send your colleague $11 for picking you up a Sweetgreen kale Caesar. Sure, there's also Square Cash and banking services like Chase QuickPay — but Venmo has a built-in emoji-driven social network, ease of use and even Siri support. Soon, with peer-to-peer Apple Pay, you'll be able to send cash using an app in Messages, the same way you'd send a GIF. Apple is putting payments where users already live.

Here's how Apple Pay looks on iOS 11:

What is the Apple Pay cash card? Apple Pay uses debit or credit cards you've added to your Apple Wallet, but it seems like it'll store your received funds separately, like Venmo does, in a temporary wallet called the "cash card."

We don't know much about the cash card yet. According to CNet, "When you receive money, it goes into a 'cash card,' which you can use to make payments to friends and family, make Apple Pay purchases on the web or transfer the funds to your bank." The Verge cautions that Apple might have an ulterior motive for opening a cash card: "Apple is not only coming for the Venmos of the world, but maybe the banks themselves."

Is Apple Pay safe? Sure. Apple Pay verifies your identity with a thumbprint before each transaction, a security system Venmo offers but doesn't require (you can enable Touch ID in the app's settings). Just know that Touch ID isn't hacker-proof, and that biometric technology can be fooled by a similar fingerprint. We'll confirm Apple Pay's security features when we get to try it. The feature, along with everything else on iOS 11, will be available for download this fall.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Cooper Fleishman

Cooper is Mic's tech editorial director. He was previously New York bureau chief at the Daily Dot.

MORE FROM

Meet the Girl Scouts that will earn badges for being cybersecurity experts

They'll soon get badges for coding, cryptography and more.

How to use the Snapchat Map while everyone else continues to be confused about it

Everything you need to know about the new feature.

Planet 10? Scientists may have discovered a hidden planet in our solar system

There could be a ninth — or even 10th — planet hiding out in our solar system.

Scientists created a robot that will iron your clothes for you

Shut up and take my money.

Moth eyes have inspired the touchscreen of the future

It's going to change the anti-reflection game.

Twitter was flagging tweets including the word "queer" as potentially "offensive content"

Why Twitter put the word "queer" in the same category as violent, sexual imagery.

Meet the Girl Scouts that will earn badges for being cybersecurity experts

They'll soon get badges for coding, cryptography and more.

How to use the Snapchat Map while everyone else continues to be confused about it

Everything you need to know about the new feature.

Planet 10? Scientists may have discovered a hidden planet in our solar system

There could be a ninth — or even 10th — planet hiding out in our solar system.

Scientists created a robot that will iron your clothes for you

Shut up and take my money.

Moth eyes have inspired the touchscreen of the future

It's going to change the anti-reflection game.

Twitter was flagging tweets including the word "queer" as potentially "offensive content"

Why Twitter put the word "queer" in the same category as violent, sexual imagery.