Apple's mobile payment ambitions apparently run far deeper than contactless payment and digital wallet service Apple Pay. The Cupertino-based company is actively discussing with U.S. banks the possibility of creating a peer-to-peer mobile payment service according to sources familiar with the matter as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Apple has reportedly spoken with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp regarding the matter. Details haven't yet been finalized, sources say, and it's unclear if any banks have struck a deal with the tech giant. Odds are, however, that such a service would likely be similar to Venmo, a person-to-person payment platform now owned by PayPal.

A recent survey from Aite Group found that cash and checks continue to be the most popular ways people pay service providers and send money to friends. Venmo, meanwhile, accounts for 19 percent of peer-to-peer payments.

A separate set of sources tell Quartz that the money transfer service might somehow be integrated into iMessage, the company's proprietary messaging service. iMessage comes pre-installed on iDevices and is quite popular among today's youth, the same demographic that currently use Venmo.

The publication's sources also claim Apple wants to partner with banks, rather than do it themselves, in order to avoid having to acquire money transmitter licenses. The strategy would allow Apple to focus on the consumer side without risk of scrutiny from regulators, sources say.

Sources say a launch isn't imminent but could happen sometime next year.

Lead image courtesy Alex Washburn, Wired