Alternative Finances

Facebook Rolls Out Pay-Your-Friend Messenger App to New York

Facebook is adding New York and the surrounding metro area to its list of U.S. cities in which users are able to send or receive money between friends via Messenger, reports TechCrunch. The free feature was launched in March of this year and is available on iOS and Android as well as on the desktop.

In November 2014, 500 million people were using Messenger each month. The app already allows you to send stickers or videos, take selfies, chat with groups and make free calls. Introducing pay-your-friend features has taken Messenger into the realm of social payment, a rising and highly profitable trend.

Facebook is not the only one experimenting with social payment. In 2014, Snapchat launched Snapcash, in partnership with Square, whereby a Snapchat user can register a debit card and easily send money to another Snapchat user. Meanwhile, Mobile payments app Venmo is working on its security holes. Other payment apps include on-top-of-the-world PayPal and Apple Pay, which was recently launched.

How does it work? Facebook Messenger connects with a Visa or MasterCard debit and then creates a PIN to provide additional security the next time a user sends money. On iOS devices, the user can also enable Touch ID. While it may take one to three business days to make the money available, the money transfer is made immediately.

But – and this is the fun part – new features are added to the app launched in New York. In Messenger conversations, dollar amounts are automatically hyperlinked and when tapped, will start a payment for that amount to the messaged person. The sender can then confirm the payment before sending. This is similar to how addresses, phone numbers, or website URLs are automatically hyperlinked in Messenger.

Or if people are engaged in a group conversation, they can now pay friends individually within the group on desktop without having to leave the group conversation. People in the group conversation will be able to see who paid whom and for how much.

Will the Messenger app go national after New York? Time will tell. But as the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

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