In a long-awaited move, Facebook revealed a peer-to-peer payments feature on Tuesday that will allow users to send money to one another through Messenger.
Facebook is trying to keep users on its platform, rather than letting them run off to the likes of Venmo to send funds to a friend.
Facebook users in the US can now link a MasterCard or Visa debit card to their Facebook account to send money to a friend by pressing the new “$” in a chat. This opens a payment screen where users can type the amount they want to send.
Unlike Snapchat, which partnered with Square for its new peer-to-peer payments feature, Facebook has developed its entire payment system in-house. The funds are transferred through Facebook, which holds the money for “seconds” before sending it to the other user’s bank. If the recipient has not attached a card to their account, Facebook will hold the funds until they have done so.
iOS users will be able to enable TouchID to secure transfers.
Facebook knows trust will be an issue here, and is reassuring users. The connection between the user and Facebook will be encrypted, as will their card information, and the site will keep its payments systems separate from other parts of the Facebook network.
“A dependable and trusted payments processor for game players and advertisers since 2007, Facebook processes more than one million transactions daily on the site”, the company said.
The new payments feature is rolling out in the US on iOS, Android and desktop in the coming months.
The new feature is also another way to get more debit cards on file in case the company wants to expand further into e-commerce. Facebook is already partnering with Stripe to test out its Buy button.
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