Facebook just announced a major enhancement to its Messenger service that will allow friends to easily and securely send money to each other. This feature, which is free, will be available to US users within the coming months.
Sending money will be virtually as easy as sending a photo. Just open up a conversation with a friend, tap on the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send, then tap Pay and add your debit card info to send the money.
To receive money that has been sent to you, open the message from your friend and tap Add Card, then add your debit card info to accept the money. Adding your debit card info will only have to be done on the first payment you receive.
The money is transferred immediately, but depending on your bank it may take one to three business days for the money to be accessible.
By the sounds of it, this could have a significant impact on how transactions are conducted between personal friends and online connections.
I belong to a number of Facebook groups where things are bought and sold amongst members all day long, and I can see this feature being the primary method of handling transactions in the future. I can also see it as a way for freelancers and solopreneurs to get paid if they’re doing work for Facebook friends.
There are also a ton of practical, every day uses as well. If you need to pitch in for cab fair, for example, you can shoot your friend a quick message with the cash. Or maybe you forgot your friend’s birthday and don’t have time to get a gift, you can just Facebook them some cash as an alternative to a gift card. These are just a few ideas that came to mind.
Facebook reminds that payments processed through the social network are kept in a secure environment, separate from other parts of the Facebook network.
Payments can be made with a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank. On iOS, payments can be processed with Touch ID, with the option to add two-step authentication if desired. When rolled out, Facebook payments will be available to US users on Android, iOS, and desktop.