Today, Facebook announced a new feature for its Facebook Messenger app for iOS that allows users to transfer money.
Facebook Messenger users can now send and receive money right within the app, which allows the social network to compete with other money sending services like PayPal. The new feature is completely free to use.
Sending a friend a payment can be done by simply tapping the “$” icon located at the top of the keyboard, which is also where stickers are accessed and photos can be taken or inserted from your photo library. After tapping the icon, users can enter the amount they wish to send and tap “Pay” in the top right corner to process the transaction.
When you use payments feature, the app will prompt you to add a debt card to make the payment. Receiving money can be done in a similar fashion. Simply open the conversation from the friend who sent the payment and add a debt card to accept the money. All funds are transferred immediately, however it can take anywhere between one and three business days for the money to be made available.
“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.
The first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you’ll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card 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. As always, you can add another layer of authentication to your account at any time.”
Facebook says that they used multiple layers of software and hardware to protect all transactions. On iOS, users have the option to secure the app with Touch ID.
The feature will be rolling out over the coming months in the United States across iOS, Android, and desktop. Facebook has not announced any plans to expand outside of the United States, however if the initial roll out goes well the company could look to expand the feature to other countries around the world.
Facebook Messenger is available as a free download from the App Store. The app requires any device running iOS 7 or later and has been optimized for the iPhone 5, 6, and 6 Plus.