By Charles Gitonga
Facebook has added a new feature in its Facebook Messenger application that allows for peer-to-peer payments.
The new payments feature is rolling out in the coming months in the US across Android, iOS, and desktop. If one wishes to send or receive money on Messenger, they will need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank. Once added, a PIN can be created to provide additional security. On iOS devices, Touch ID can be enabled; with other layers added into the account at any time.
The money sent is transferred immediately but may take one to three business days to make the money available on the other account depending on the bank. “A dependable and trusted payments processor for game players and advertisers since 2007, Facebook processes more than one million transactions daily on the site and also handles all the payments processed on Messenger,” said Facebook in a blog post.
Facebook now becomes the latest technology company to enter the financial sector, joining the likes of Apple which launched its payment service Apple Pay last year and Google with Google Wallet.
As reported by Financial Times, Facebook hired David Marcus, President of eBay’s PayPal unit, to run its Facebook Messenger division last year, as it searched for a way to generate revenue from the app.
With the probability of the product being rolled out globally, financial analysts reckon that the mobile payment space is becoming increasingly crowded by unlikely players. While not necessarily posing a big risk immediately to established players in Kenya such as Safaricom and Airtel, Facebook has the scale and reach that could take away business opportunities which platforms like M-Pesa may seek to pursue in future.