Facebook has introduced a feature to its Messenger app that enables people to transfer money to their friends in a few clicks.
The feature will soon be introduced in the US for Android, iOS, and desktops.
“We’re adding a new feature in Messenger that gives people a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends. It’s easy and free,” said Facebook.
The money will be sent in real time and will then take up to three days to be available, depending on bank clearing times.
To send money, users just start a message with a friend, tap the dollar icon and enter the amount they want to send. They then tap "Pay" and add debit card details.
To receive money, users open a conversation and tap "Add Card" in the message, before adding debit card details to accept money the first time around.
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Facebook already processes more than a million transactions daily on the site and also handles all the payments processed on Messenger. It has been used heavily by game players and advertisers since 2007.
Facebook said security is a top priority. “We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between the user and Facebook, as well as the users card information when they ask us to store it,” the social network giant said.
“These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and receives additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.”
Technology companies are adding financial services functionality to their services at a pace. Apple has Apple Pay, Samsung recently announced Samsung Pay and Google is developing Android pay.
In October 2014, French bank BPCE enabled Twitter users to tweet payments to each other through its electronic money subsidiary, S-money.
Services can be added to their existing platforms and scale is not a problem for IT companies with their huge processing engines. Facebook has more than a billion users, for example.