Facebook Messenger powers up with peer-to-peer payments

Facebook's latest addition might also further nudge resistant users to download the social network's standalone apps.


In encouraging friends to communicate further (or at least pay up), Facebook will surely soon find its list of enemies growing.

Chief among them will be PayPal, Venmo, Square and other peer-to-peer mobile payments providers.

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That's because the world's largest social network just announced it will be bolstering its Messenger app with peer-to-peer payments.

At first glance, the initial money-sending scheme is more of a mechanism to quickly send digital cash between friends and family rather than a model that could be deployed by an independent seller or small business.

When launched, Facebook Messenger payments will only allow users to send and receive payments drawn from Visa and MasterCard debit (not credit) cards. Processing is projected to take between one to three business days.

Nevertheless, given Facebook's well-established global footprint and user base of more than 1.39 billion monthly active users worldwide, the addition of peer-to-peer payments on the heavily-trafficked platform will undoubtedly prove a threat to established digital payments providers at some point.

Combine that with Facebook's ongoing Internet.org and drone projects to spread Internet connectivity around the world, and the social network's ambitions to cover all mobile needs becomes more evident.

It would appear Facebook is off to a running start regardless, noting on Tuesday it already processes an average of more than one million secure payment transactions daily.

The latest addition might also have the side benefit of nudging resistant mobile users to download the social network's standalone apps as Facebook continues to spin off popular features in reflection of its mobile-first sales strategy.

The new payments feature is scheduled to roll out in the United States "in the coming months," initially on Facebook's iOS and Android Messenger apps as well as desktop channels.

Image via Facebook