On Tuesday, Facebook announced on its website: “We’re adding a new feature in Messenger that gives people a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends. This feature will be rolling out over the coming months in the US.”
To send money, you’ll start a message with a friend, tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send, then tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money.
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To receive money, you’ll open the conversation from your friend, tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time.
The money you send is transferred right away. 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.
And so, simply and elegantly, Facebook may have driven out of business traditional institutions such as Western Union, as well as new business like PayPal. With a billion and a quarter potential users for this app, the results could be mind boggling.
To remind you, in June 2014 Facebook hired David Marcus, then president of eBay’s payments subsidiary PayPal, to become its vice president of messaging products.
Back then, Marcus wrote on his Facebook page:
“Mark Zuckerberg and I got together. Mark shared a compelling vision about Mobile Messaging. At first, I didn’t know whether another big company gig was a good thing for me, but Mark’s enthusiasm, and the unparalleled reach and consumer engagement of the Facebook platform ultimately won me over. So… yes. I’m excited to go to Facebook to lead Messaging Products. And I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty again attempting to build something new and meaningful at scale.”
In a few years, when we all do our banking through our Facebook pages, you should remember that day in June, 2014, when these two enterprising young Jewish guys put their heads together…
Incidentally, to further allay users’ worries, Facebook stated:
“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.”