Facebook to facilitate mobile payments via Messenger app

This has been predicted for a while by some in the know, but it still comes as a bit of a left-field play. Today, Facebook announced that they are to facilitate mobile payments via their Messenger app. The implications here could be massive with it being the first of the big social networks to really make a stab at P2P mobile payments – social payments if you will.

Here’s how it works, the first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you’ll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card that’s been issued by a US bank to your account. Once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN to provide additional security the next time you send money. On iOS devices you can also enable Touch ID.

To send money:

  1. Start a message with a friend
  2. Tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send
  3. Tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money

To receive money:

  1. Open the conversation from your friend
  2. Tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time

For years, there was very little movement in this space, despite the technology being in place (my MSc. thesis from back in 2012 discusses this), but with Apple Pay gaining momentum, Samsung acquiring Loop Pay as a response, and now the social networks getting involved, [whisper it] 2015 could finally be the year that mobile payments start to become common place . The feature will be rolled out over the next couple of months in the US to begin with, but expect it to be launched worldwide in quick succession once people start using it.