Facebook Messenger now lets all US users send money to friends and family
The new money transfer feature is initiated when the user taps the new "$" icon in a conversation. After selecting the amount, users can send a money transfer request. If the recipient of this request accepts the money transfer, the amount will show his bank account in up to three working days.
For a visual explanation of the process, check out these official screenshots:
For the moment, users will have to register a Visa or Mastercard debit card before initiating a money transfer. When receiving money for the first time, the user will be prompted to register a card before the transfer is processed.
Facebook says that the peer-to-peer payments systems will be contained within a secured environment which is independently monitored and rigorously controlled. Allegedly, suspicious activities are monitored by a team of anti-fraud specialists. Facebook has been handling payments for game players and advertisers since 2007, but opening up the doors to US-wide peer-to-peer transfers is shaping up to be a real maturity test for the security of Facebook's payment-handling abilities.
At 700 million registered users, Facebook Messenger is now second only to WhatsApp - now a Facebook company - in the instant messaging landscape. Given how popular Facebook Messenger is, the new money transfer feature may turn out to be a convenient way of sending money to family and friends, since sending money is always a few taps away from the conversation.
Remember that Facebook Messenger is now an independent product, as the company recently allowed non-Facebook users to use its instant messaging service. Back in March, Facebook shared its vision for a future where Messenger has developed into a leading e-commerce service. Payments are just the first step, and we're curious to see what Facebook will decide to come up with next.