When Facebook introduced Facebook Messenger, many didn’t understand its use, as the company had already bought WhatsApp, a tool with pretty much the same purpose. But now the world’s biggest social network is announcing a new feature which transform the app into something more than a free messenger.
Facebook has announced a new payments feature for Facebook Messenger, thus confirming many previous rumors and hearsay. By using it, Facebook users will be able to connect their Visa or Mastercard debit card in order to send money to friends. The new payments featurew will be rolling out in the coming months in the US across Android, iOS, and desktop.
As you can see in the above video, sending money is really easy – you just need to start a message with a friend, then tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send, then tap pay in the top right and add your debit card. If you want to receive money, then you just need to make sure you have added a debit card to accept money for the first time. This sounds incredibly easy and best part – there are no fees at all.
Facebook informs that the money you send is transferred right away, however, it may take one to three business days for it to become available to you (depending on your bank). Facebook has been accepting payments for a long while on its platform, and it’s now bringing the feature to peer-to-peer payments. If you are concerned about security, once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN for the next time you send money. iPhone and iPad users can use Touch ID, as well.
It seems that Facebook wants this feature to be used by the average audience, but I personally suspect this to be a great tool for small businesses. However, speaking to TechCrunch, Facebook’s product manager Steve Davis said:
We’re not building a payments business here. The goal is to offer P2P payments for free to make Messenger more useful, expressive and delightful.
Facebook already makes a lot of money from ads, so it’s not interested in charging its users fees for transactions. It’s just trying to make them continue to use Facebook and spend more time on the social network. Again, I’m saying that this feature could do wonders for those involved with small businesses. But, of course, this would be pretty tricky, since there is no extra protection or escrow to a payment, and that’s because they are meant to be done between persons who know well each other.