Facebook brings payments to Messenger app in US

Users can link their debit card and send money through the app

Facebook's Messenger app now lets friends send payments to each other.

Facebook's Messenger app now lets friends send payments to each other.

Users of Facebook's Messenger app will soon be able to do more than just chat with friends and send them emoticons. They'll also be able to send money.

Facebook is adding a payments feature to its popular Messenger app, letting users link their debit card and send each other payments within the app. The tool is designed to be as easy as sending messages, with a "$" icon that will appear in the app. By tapping it, users can send money to the friend they're chatting with. Recipients of the money will have to link their debit card to accept the funds.

The free feature will be rolling out over the coming months in the U.S. to Messenger on Android, iOS and the desktop. Facebook made no mention of Windows.

The feature is designed to allow money transfers to happen right away, though it might take one to three business days for the cash to be made available to recipients, depending on the banks involved, Facebook said in announcing the feature on Tuesday.

With the feature, Facebook becomes a competitor amidst a growing number of players in what's known as peer-to-peer payments. PayPal has provided a way for people to send each other digital payments, and China's WeChat messenger app also has the function. There are also several mobile money services available in Africa. But activity in this area has been heating up in the U.S., as both payment processing companies and messaging app developers add the functionality to their apps.

Square, which makes software and hardware for small businesses to process transactions, now offers a peer-to-peer payment product with its Cash app. Mobile payments app Venmo has proven popular with young people and college students.

And Snapchat, one of Facebook's biggest competitors, introduced a money-sending option late last year.

To be clear, Facebook's new feature is focused on peer-to-peer payments, not mobile payments you might make in a store with a smartphone equipped with Apple Pay or Google Wallet. But Facebook might at some point employ some of the feature's technology into making in-store or e-commerce payments.

Facebook is already experimenting with e-commerce, through the use of a "buy" button for purchasing items directly on its site. Having millions of people's debit card information on file would be a nice thing, should Facebook expand that program or expand its use among advertisers.

With more than 500 million users, the reach of Facebook Messenger is huge. It could give the company a leg up in expanding the use of its new payments feature. Facebook has already processed millions of transactions, for its advertisers and for payments for games played on the site. The company did not, however, mention plans for global rollout of the service.

The company said it would encrypt people's card information when it's stored. For added security, users can choose to require a PIN to be entered to send money.

The payments feature does not currently allow payments through credit cards, prepaid debit cards and PayPal.

The company did not respond to comment further.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile applicationsInternet-based applications and servicese-commercemobilesocial mediainternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?