Facebook launched a free P2P payments service for users of its Messenger app in the US, joining a competitive market for such services.

The move is not a surprise: Back in March, the social network announced the launch in coming months. The feature is available on Facebook’s standalone messaging apps on Android and iOS as well as on the desktop.

David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, revealed the news in a post, without going into much detail.

Messenger users add a debit card within the app’s settings, tap the $ icon within a message and input the amount they want to send. The receiver opens the payment to confirm they have it.

However, even after confirmation, it may take up to three business days before the money is available to the recipient, depending on their bank. And, for the moment, the service only works with debit, not credit, cards.

The company told Mashable the debit card-only decision is to minimise fraud and avoid the transaction fees levied by credit cards.

And P2P payments is a market with low entry barriers, meaning Facebook is not the first to jump into it. Users can already send payments via Google’s Gmail, or via the Venmo app from Braintree, which is owned by PayPal, as well as traditional money transfer firms.

However, Marcus did respond to one question from a user who asked whether plans exist for a request feature, and if there is a limit on how much can be sent via Messenger?

“We now have triggers. So any amount starting with a $ is hyperlinked to the send money flow. Try typing ‘Send me $20’. That’s our early version of request money,” the Facebook exec responded.

On limits, he did not give out any numbers but said it should be high enough for most users and usages right now.