These developments are in line with Musk’s vision of transforming X into the next super app, akin to the current WeChat super app in China, whereby users can pay bills and make peer-to-peer payments.
X is continuing its efforts to secure money transmission licenses throughout the United States. Musk has said his ultimate goal is to offer a wide range of financial services that would usurp the offerings of traditional banks.
“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk said, according to an audio account of the meeting attained by The Verge. “If it involves money, it’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”
“Musk’s plans for X would see X join the race to serve as a financial super app that consumers turn to for all of their financial needs,” said Daniel Keyes, Senior Analyst for Merchant Services at Javelin Strategy & Research. “But considering that X will be starting from scratch in the financial space, while competitors have been offering a bevy of financial services for years, it will have trouble gaining traction as a financial hub.”
“It also remains to be seen if many consumers will trust X enough to share their financial data with the company, which will be necessary for this initiative to get off the ground.”
The Rise of the Super App
With convenience and efficiency in payments high on consumers’ wish lists, super apps are growing in popularity. They offer a way to perform multiple functions in one consolidated platform.
The Western world has yet to catch on to the concept of providing banking, shopping, and other types of services in one application as it is done in Asia, but that could be changing. Uber recently launched a product within its app that allows users to book experiences such as live events and dinner reservations.
Meta plans to dip its toes into the financial sector with financial lending within its apps. Discussions with lending partners have already taken place. Furthermore, intending to remove the complexity of juggling multiple shopping and financial apps, PayPal launched in-app shopping tools, a savings account, and bill payments.
Amid all these ambitious and strategic efforts, regulators have already clamped down on fintech companies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already demanded that large tech firms reveal their business plans. It remains to be seen just how many of these budding U.S. super apps will be allowed to flourish.