Facebook expands payments service to New York City

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The social networking company has announced today the expansion of its nascent payment service to the New York metro area, and mentioned several new features of the service.

The payments feature, introduced on Facebook messenger in March, allows users to send and accept money by clicking the ‘$’ icon. However, so far the service has only been available in select American cities including Seattle, Austin and Portland.

New York is the first major metro area and the company says the service will be launched across the US in the “coming months”.

The two updates, Facebook says, will make payments easier. The first update is a hyperlinking feature. Now, the amount you want to send will be hyperlinked like a URL or a phone number. Once you click on the hyperlink the payment will be initiated.

The second update has made it easier for people to make payments in group conversations. Before, users would have to leave the group and start a private conversation to make a p2p payment. Now they can select specific friends within the group and transfer money there and then. However, that option is only available on the desktop version of Facebook messenger.

The payment service is only available for personal use at the moment, and although Facebook says the app is not for “commercial purposes”, it must be something Facebook is keeping an eye out for in the future.

Facebook’s foray into the payments industry is one that could seriously shake up the industry – social payment apps such as Venmo in particular. Venmo has been a big hit with the younger demographics, who find the app useful when it comes to splitting bills or paying for rent.

It also means that Facebook is now about to lock horns with Snapchat, who have the Square-powered Snapcash, which was launched last November.

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