Facebook is planning on rolling out a new payment method in the US in the coming months via its messaging platform to “give people a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends.”
The feature will be available on Facebook’s standalone messaging apps on Android and iOS as well as on desktop.
The move isn’t a surprise. It follows comments last July by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the firm’s Q2 earnings conference call, when he confirmed there’ll be “some overlap” between payments and its Messenger service. And it comes after David Marcus, former president of eBay’s PayPal division, joined Facebook to head up the social network’s mobile messaging efforts.
The first time a user sends or receives money, they will need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank. They can also create a PIN to provide additional security, and on iOS devices they can enable Touch ID.
“As always, you can add another layer of authentication to your account at any time,” the company said in a statement.
After that, any time they want to send money they will need to tap the ‘$’ icon in Messenger and enter the amount they want to send.
“The money you send is transferred right away. It may take one to three business days to make the money available to you depending on your bank, just as it does with other deposits,” the company said in a statement.
Explaining that sending money on Facebook is secure, the company said it has been a dependable and trusted payments processor for game players and advertisers since 2007 and that it processes more than one million transactions daily on the site.
It emphasised that it uses layers of software and hardware protection and that the payment systems are kept in a secured environment, separate from other parts of the Facebook network that receive additional monitoring and control.
A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe, it added.
Earlier this year, Facebook trialled a feature for its Messenger app that enables voice messages to be converted into text.
In November, Snapchat also launched a payments service in the US.