Facebook Launches Free Friend-to-friend Payments Through Messenger

Facebook Launches Free Friend-to-friend Payments Through Messenger

After replacing different services used for texting, photo sharing, and video calling, Facebook is ready to challenge PayPal and other money transferring services with its Facebook Messenger.

Today Facebook announced a new payments feature for Facebook Messenger. This service will let you connect your Facebook Messenger with your Mastercard or Visa debit card. By clicking on a simple “$” button, now you can send money to your Facebook friends on the desktop, Android and, iOS. This service won’t cost you extra money transferring charges.

The rival friendly payment app Venmo, owned by eBay’s PayPal unit, charges 3% extra commission fee on each transfer. Facebook will do the same for free.

Rather than lean on a payments company like PayPal to power the feature, Facebook built it from the ground up from its experience processing over 1 million payments a day through its ads and games platforms. Transactions and payment info are encrypted, and Facebook says “These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control,” from an anti-fraud team.

We’re not building a payments business here,” Facebook’s product manager on the feature Steve Davis tells me. Instead, Davis says the goal is to offer P2P payments for free to make Messenger “more useful, expressive and delightful.” Since Facebook makes so much money on ads, $3.59 billion in Q4, it doesn’t have to monetize payments directly. Facebook just needs to keep people locked into its platform and seeing News Feed ads by making Messenger as helpful as possible.

Facebook said in a news release:

“Today we’re adding a new feature in Messenger that gives people a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends. This feature will be rolling out over the coming months in the US.”

This service will be first rolled out in US in upcoming months and then to the rest of the world.  Right now, users can add their card info. The money is transferred instantly. Depending upon your banks and other transfer services, it may take on to three business days to make the money available.