Facebook announced yesterday that it is to roll out its peer to peer money sending capability in its messenger app over the coming weeks in the UK. The service, that allows users to send payments to friends directly has been in use in the states since 2015 but this is the first time it has been implemented outside of America and in a currency different to dollars.
“Our research shows the top reasons for sending money include celebrations, social, and festive occasions; it’s those everyday moments we’re trying to make a little easier,” Messenger boss David Marcus said in an emailed statement. “We’ve seen that in the U.S. most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time.”
The feature is expected to roll out in the coming weeks so it won’t be available to all UK users at once, so keep your eyes peeled for the plus button to pop up in your chat. Once that appears all you need to do to use it, go into a chat with a friend and tap the plus button, and it will then let you select the option to pay them. You then enter your card details (if it’s the first time you’re doing it) and the amount you want to pay, and it’s sent to your friend — who can accept it by entering their card details too.
There are no fees involved for making payments and Facebook’s virtual assistant “M” will also attempt to detect when a payment might be appropriate and suggest it. If you receive a messaging saying “You owe me £16 for your burger,” for example, it will prompt you to send your friend £16.
Facebook has declared that its payment service uses “bank-level encryption” but no doubt the usual arguments of data privacy and the amount of information Facebook holds on you will be in full force, especially after videos of Facebook using your phone’s mic to listen to your conversations and post ads accordingly have been doing the rounds this week. But in an age where we have mobile banking apps, contactless payment via NFC, connected home apps, one-touch shopping apps and hardware such as Alexa is data privacy the big issue it used to be or is convenience and ease of use more important now?
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