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US banking giants plan to join forces to launch digital wallets

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and other banks are planning to join forces to launch a digital wallet that shoppers can use to make online payments in a bid to challenge PayPal and Apple Wallet, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Banks including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are planning a new system for making online purchases using a digital wallet linked to credit and debit cards, and the intention is to start rolling it out in the second half of 2023, the report said.

The new digital wallet will reportedly be operated by EWS, the bank-owned company that currently operates Zelle, the largest digital money transfer vehicle in the U.S. EWS said the new, as-yet-unnamed wallet will be separate from Zelle.

The new wallet is also intended to compete with PayPal and was created to prevent banks from ceding customer relationships to big tech companies like Apple, said the source, who asked not to be named.

EWS plans to initially launch with support for Visa and MasterCard, with a total of around 150 million customers. If the system proves popular, it could be expanded to allow direct payments from banks to merchants.

Apple Wallet already has one competitor, Google Wallet. theoretically, Meta and Samsung are also competitors in this space, but neither has much market appeal. Similarly, a consortium of companies, including JP Morgan Chase, tried to replace Apple Pay with CurrentC, a competitor that ultimately failed.

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