Facebook to end Messenger payments in the UK, France

Residents of these countries will soon no longer be able to use P2P services.

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Facebook has announced the closure of person-to-person (P2P) payments made over Facebook Messenger for users in the United Kingdom and France.

The service will shut its doors on 15 June 2019.

No reason has been given and it appears that other users, such as those residing in the United States, will still be able to access the P2P platform.

In Facebook's Help Center, the social media giant says, "while you won't be able to exchange money with friends and family, you'll still be able to complete other transactions through Facebook, such as making donations to charitable organizations."

A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company has made the "decision to focus our efforts on experiences that people find most useful," and so it appears the payment platform may not have been as popular as Facebook would have hoped.

Facebook first entered the P2P space in Europe back in 2017 with the launch of Payments in Messenger following a successful rollout in the US during 2015.

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At the time, the social media giant said payments were one of the "most requested features" made by residents in the UK and France, and the new system enabled them to send money to others in the same country but not across borders.

It may have been that the border issue was the nail in the coffin for Europe.

Mobile payments have a place in assisting individuals that do not necessarily have a bank account suitable for transfers or those who might wish to send money to family and friends in another country, but without the expansion of Facebook's P2P system across other European areas, it may have been that initial interest in the platform became the peak of its overall activity -- and usage declined afterward.

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Of note, too, is the upcoming changes to European requirements for mobile payments. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), part of the EU Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and due to be implemented in September this year, will require vendors facilitating such payments to use payment processing systems such as 3D Secure (3DS) in an attempt to reduce online fraud.

The upcoming changes may represent a costly and time-consuming investment from Facebook, and so if user rates were declining anyway, simply exiting the space -- at least, for now -- may have been the better business decision.

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While Facebook may be shying away from the mobile payments arena in some areas, other companies are charging forward, such as Apple. Apple Card is a digital and physical payments system which offers daily cashback to users and authenticates transactions with Touch ID and Face ID.  

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