As many believed was inevitable, Facebook has entered the personal payments space. The company today announced Facebook Messenger will now let you send and receive money.
The feature is rolling out “in the coming months” on Android, iOS, and the desktop website. Facebook is only making it available to U.S. users for now.
Facebook says payments in Messenger is “a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends.” The process to send money is as follows: message a friend, tap the $ icon, enter the amount you want to send, and tap Pay in the top right.
Receiving money is of course much simpler: Open the conversation from your friend and tap Add Card in the message. If it is your first time sending or receiving money, you’ll have to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a U.S. bank to your account.
Once that is done, you can create a PIN that will be required the next time you send money. For those who want to take extra precautions, add more layers of authentication to your Facebook account and/or enable Touch ID if you have an iOS device.
Security is of paramount importance for such a feature, so here is how Facebook promises to protect payments:
Incorporating security best practices into our payments business has always been a top priority. We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you. We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards. 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. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.
Facebook claims the money you send is transferred “right away,” but the company warns you should expect delays: “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.” In other words, this payment solution isn’t unique other than the fact that it’s on Facebook.
Facebook is no stranger to managing money. The company has been a payments processor for game players and advertisers since 2007. The company noted in its announcement today that it processes more than 1 million transactions on its site every day.
With that system now handling all the payments processed on Facebook Messenger, we would expect that figure to balloon. The big question is whether Facebook users will trust the service enough to handle their monetary transfers between friends and not just payments to Facebook.