Apple May Launch a Venmo Competitor Square, Facebook and Google have also entered the peer-to-peer payments space.

By Laura Entis

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Apple is in discussion with U.S. banks to launch a peer-to-peer mobile payment feature that would put the technology giant in direct competition with PayPal's Venmo platform, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

These types of services have been relatively slow to take off -- less than 20 percent of U.S. adults report using their mobile devices to make at least one payment a week – but the space is heating up. In addition to Venmo, Square, Facebook and Google all offer peer-to-peer payment services. And while far from mainstream, a growing number of Americans – particularly millennials – are using these services in lieu of cash and checks to pay for everyday expenses.

It isn't directly clear how Apple will make money from the payment feature, but as the Journal notes peer-to-peer payment services help technology companies ensure they are a central part of users' lives. Another upside: the service gives them access to consumers' financial information, which can help inform the development of future products.

According to the report, Apple has had conversations with JPMorgan, Capital One, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo. It's unclear what stage of negotiations the technology company is at, but a person familiar with the matter told the Journal a launch could "get off the ground next year."

Related: Square IPO to Value Company at $4.2 Billion

Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.

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