Over the next few months, the long-awaited feature that allows users to send money to friends via Facebook Messenger will rollout to users on desktop, iOS and Android. The feature will allow users to link their debit card info to their Facebook accounts to send and receive payments. For now, they are not going to allow credit cards to avoid fees and possible fraud.
This new feature is just another way to make Facebook “sticky.” The company wants people to spend as much time on their site as possible, so this is just another reason for people to stay. Users will in theory, no longer have to leave the social network to make these simple types of transactions and it makes it very easy.
According to Steve Davis, Facebook’s payments program manager, we all pay each other for all kinds of things like rent or splitting checks, “so why don’t we finish those conversations in the same place we started?”
This could also open doors down the road for additional revenue generating ideas with users payment info already secured. Perhaps if Facebook wanted to allow users to complete transactions for physical goods down the road, they could charge even more for ads and increase revenues further.
Entering the mobile payment space is a no-brainer for a company like Facebook, as they have the majority of their users on mobile platforms already and this space is growing quickly. Others like Snapchat are also entering the space, but the reach of Facebook is still far greater.
For those worried about sharing sensitive payment data with a network known for animated GIFs and party pictures, the company says not to worry. They will be using PCI compliant equipment and software, which is the same standard applied to credit card transactions. Everything will be stored separately from the rest of Facebook and there will also be an anti-fraud team which will track everything and look for fraudulent transactions.
Will any of you try this method of sending/receiving funds and if so, how much confidence do you have in the security of the transactions?
Do you think Facebook could genuinely capitalize on mobile transactions or are they only experimenting or keeping up with the competition?