Facebook just announced a major change to its Messenger service that will allow friends to send money to one another as easily as they would a message or photo. This new feature, which Facebook says will be free, will be be rolling out for Messenger users in the U.S. over the next few weeks on iOS, Android and desktop.
Here's how easy it will be to send money:
Start a message with a friend
Tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send
Tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money
And to receive money:
Open the conversation from your friend
Tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first timeThe money is transferred immediately, but depending on your bank it may take one to three business days for the money to be accessible.
This looks like it will mostly be used between friends at first, for splitting bills or sending money to another another, but I could see there being a much bigger application for purchases made through Facebook. Is this just the first step to simplifying the way Facebook businesses are able to sell to customers?
While many will be worried about the security of these transfers, Facebook went into great detail regarding those concerns in their post:
Incorporating security best practices into our payments business has always been a top priority. We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you. We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards. These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.
The first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you'll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank to your account. Once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN to provide additional security the next time you send money. On iOS devices you can also enable Touch ID. As always, you can add another layer of authentication to your account at any time.