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Newcomers in the P2P transaction market

Categories : Cash enables an immediate transfer of value, Cash is trust
August 23, 2017
Tags : Cash, Cash Transfers, Consumers, Payments competition, Technology
With over 80% of people-to-people transactions carried out in cash in the US, the tooth fairy has little time to sit around.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

Cash is the most widely used tool for money transfers between individuals. Indeed, no less than 80% of transactions between relatives are made with tangible money, notably for its convenience and the absence of fees. Nevertheless, various mobile apps and digital platforms are trying to make their way in the field, including the well-known Venmo or Google Wallet.

Venmo is a mobile payment app owned by PayPal and created by two college students in 2009 that enables money transfers between contacts. Since its creation, the service proved successful and grew steadily, although it clearly does not rival traditional banknotes in terms of market share. Nevertheless, Venmo might soon face strong competition as Apple announced the launch of a payment service via its iMessaging system last June, which will allow users to send money as an attachment in messages. But this might not represent the greatest threat. Indeed, a week after Apple’s declaration, Early Warning Services – payment and authentication solutions provider for the financial system – also announced the creation of a new P2P transfer service to be rolled out by 2018.

Early Warning Services’ platform – named Zelle – will be available to the 86 million customers of the network including various major US financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The service is already available at some banks, but with this relaunch, the company aims to reach the masses and gain more ground over over P2P service provides. Zelle enables users to transfer money directly from their bank account to friends by simply using the recipient’s phone number or email address. Pete Tapling – Chief revenue officer at Early Warning – explains that the service seeks to imitate the convenience offered by cash but in a digital format.

According to research firm AITE Group, only 12% of P2P transactions were made digitally in the United States in 2016. The reasons for this are multiple: cash is extremely practical as it requires no equipment – such as an internet connection – and is accessible almost everywhere thanks to the ubiquity of ATMs. Furthermore, cash transfers induce no fees and are immediate. Finally, cash contains an emotional value that digital platforms will never be able to equal. How would an electronic transfer replace the joy of discovering a coin left by the tooth fairy?

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