London - Facebook is enabling people outside the US to send money to each other via its Messenger texting app for the first time.
The social network said on Monday that Messenger users in the UK will
be able to send money to each other when the feature rolls out in the
next few weeks. People will need to sign up with their debit cards to
send or receive money.
“In the US most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time,”
David Marcus, head of Messenger, said in a statement, adding that the feature is most commonly used during social occasions.
Facebook began letting its users in the US send cash to each other
in 2015 but doesn’t charge for its use. The move is part of an
increasing trend by tech giants to muscle in on the global payments
Apple’s forthcoming Apple Pay Cash will let the company’s device
owners send money to each other through its iMessage service.
Square has a similar product called Square Cash, and
PayPal’s Venmo has been a popular choice for younger users
In the UK however, the market is less saturated. Neither Square
Cash, Venmo nor Apple Pay Cash are available to British users yet, where
consumers are well used to mobile payments in general. London buses,
for example, don’t even accept cash; Apple Pay, Android Pay and other
contactless services are widely used across retail and travel services.
"Convenience levels and near real-time payment transfers remove
historical pain points with alternative P2P payment methods, including
checks," said Phil Sealy, principal analyst at ABI Research.
predominately used in social settings, to split bills or pay friends and
family, there is significant opportunity for P2P to move beyond the
social realms, possibly used as a future alternative platform to pay
Messenger has also been built upon by other firms to provide similar
services. In February, international money transfer service TransferWise
built a "bot" for Messenger, letting its users send money to each other
through the platform. PayPal released a similar tool for the US in
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