“Apple’s on-again, off-again flirtation with building its own money-transfer service appears to be back on,” Jason Del Rey reports for Recode.

“The company has recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing its own Venmo competitor, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks,” Del Rey reports. “The service would allow iPhone owners to send money digitally to other iPhone owners, these people said.”

“Apple has also recently held discussions with Visa about creating its own pre-paid cards that would run on the Visa debit network and which would be tied to the new peer-to-peer service, sources told Recode,” Del Rey reports. “Apple is looking for new ways to boost usage of Apple Pay, and the debit card could be one way to do that. Several sources inside big U.S. banks told Recode that Apple Pay usage has been lighter than expected since it launched two and a half years ago.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Four points:

1. Restricting P2P payments to iOS users is a needless handicap that will severely curtail usage. It either works with pretty much everyone (like SMS, for example) or it doesn’t get used anywhere near its full potential.

2. This restriction implies that Messages will be the conduit for the payments and that Messages will remain iOS-only.

3. Not spreading Messages (and any P2P payment system) to Android smacks of fear. Is Messages really all that keeps people on iPhones? Scaredy-cat Apple seems to think so. Courage, Apple. Courage.

4. To boost usage of Apple Pay, as we’ve written many times (as recently as February): “There is no better way to pay than with Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Two simple things could turbocharge Apple Pay usage: Better (or actual) signage at the point of sale and incentives for using Apple Pay. Imagine Apple Pay usage if Apple simply offered $1 to spend at the Apple Store for every hundred spent via Apple Pay.”

As we wrote last August, imagine at the special media event to introduce the next-gen iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said something like this:

And, of course, the new iPhone works with Apple Pay and, starting today, for every $100 you spend using Apple Pay, you get $1 off at Apple retail and online stores. So, spend $100 on groceries using Apple Pay, you get $1. Spend $300 on a plane ticket using the Delta app, you get $3. Use Apple Pay in your ExxonMobil Speedpass+ app to buy your gas. It all adds up! By the end of the year, you’ll likely have quite a discount on your next iPad, Mac, or iPhone!

Would you use Apple Pay more if Tim Cook said something like that? We know we certainly would. So would tens of millions more people than are using Apple Pay today.

As we wrote nearly two years ago in August 2015:

Apple, give us a reason to use Apple Pay beyond looking like tech dorks in front of the line at the register. What’s the incentive to use Apple Pay? There is none besides looking like a flaming nerd. As if Apple doesn’t have any money. That, inexplicably, is how they approach Apple Pay. Hello, Tim? Eddy? Talk to some people who actually go to stores and shop for things, please.

Incentivize its use! Give Apple Pay users a percentage of every dollar spent via Apple Pay to spend at Apple Stores. Something. Anything! Get people used to using it first. Sheesh. It’s really not that difficult. It really isn’t.

SEE ALSO:
Apple Pay promised to make plastic obsolete, but wary shoppers and confused clerks hinder adoption – April 5, 2017
Apple Pay at two years: Not much to celebrate – yet – October 20, 2016
What’s wrong with Apple Pay? – August 5, 2016
Apple Pay’s frequency of usage is putrid – August 3, 2016
Analyst: P2P payments via Apple’s iMessage platform good news for Square, bad for PayPal – June 14, 2016
Apple to deliver iMessage to Android at WWDC – June 9, 2016
Apple wants to let you make payments through Messages, Mail, Phone, and Calendar – December 31, 2015
Why Apple wants to get into the unprofitable world of payments between friends – December 1, 2015
Apple is making a grab for Venmo’s P2P payments turf and might use iMessage to do it – November 13, 2015
Apple discussing mobile person-to-person payment service with major U.S. banks – November 11, 2015