The first country outside of the USA you can pay using Facebook Messenger is the UK. The service has been available stateside since 2015 and global expansion of payments via Messenger is a vital strategic plan for Facebook. The service will start to be available in the UK over the next few weeks.
David Marcus is the head of Messenger at Facebook and a senior executive there. You might also recall that he was previously the head honcho at PayPal. He says of the development: “What we’re trying to do is add utility to Messenger. We’re really trying to remove friction from the experience.”
Here’s how you can send a payment via Facebook Messenger. When you’re in a chat with a friend, you will be able to press the blue ‘plus’ symbol and you then select the payments option.
During your first payment the app will request your bank information to be entered, Visa and Mastercard are supported. You must then specify the amount to be paid. The most you can send in a single transaction is £2,500 and there’s a rolling 30-day limit of £10,000. But, needless to say, the norm will be much smaller sums.
The money is then transferred to your friend in one to three business days. If the friend hasn’t set the system up, they’ll be prompted to enter their card details to get the payment.
Facebook does not make a charge on sending or receiving money. And indeed doesn’t directly handle the cash itself. They say that the system is encrypted and for added security users can set a PIN for sending money.
Expanding payments is vital for Facebook because it means keeping people in the app and connected to the Facebook network. That’s also why they launched the ability in the States to order a takeaway and yet not profit from it. But it also gives it continuing parity with competing services such as WeChat.
Let us know when you start to see payments available in Facebook Messenger and how it goes when you use it.