It has long been rumored that Facebook will allow its users to send money to each other. Today the feature has finally been confirmed by the social network. The standalone Facebook Messenger app now allows users to send money to each other. Users will have to link their debit card to their Facebook account in order to use this feature.
The updated Facebook Messenger app has a “$” icon above the keyboard which when tapped brings up a payments screen where users can enter the amount they wish to send to that particular contact.
Money is sent through Facebook, which holds it for a few seconds, before transferring it to the contact. If the recipient doesn’t have a card linked to their account Facebook will hold the money until they set one up.
This peer-to-peer payments concept is nothing new. Venmo and Square have similar offerings. Even Snapchat lets users send money to each other through a service called Snapcash.
Facebook has built its feature from the ground up. This means that users’ debit card information will be kept on Facebook’s servers. It’s not like Facebook hasn’t handed payment cards before.
Lots of users have their cards linked up to pay for advertisements, games and gifts. This is just another way for Facebook to get more cards on file as it looks to expand its ecommerce presence.
A PIN will be required to authenticate transfers. iPhone owners can use Touch ID as well. No payments will be transferred without PIN or Touch ID authorization. Facebook will not charge users any fees for this feature.
The updated Messenger app will be rolled out in phases for iOS and Android in the U.S. Other international cities will be supported down the line.