It’s clear that Facebook will be moving into online payment territory to compete with the likes of companies like PayPal and others. But, we haven’t gotten a glimpse into exactly how Facebook plans to set up online payments until this morning.
Sources close to the company have told press that a payment platform has already been built into PayPal, and that the platform is already in use by some.
Sending Money Through Facebook
According to various sources, Facebook plans to allow users to send quick cash through the Facebook Messenger app. This could be one of the reasons why Facebook was so insistent on people downloading the Messenger app separately, but that’s unclear at the moment. What is somewhat clearer is that Facebook will let users send cash through Messenger using debit cards - thus far, only debit seems to work, but that could change. Interestingly, there are no fees attached to sending money through Facebook at the time of this writing, but it’s unlikely that this will remain the case.
While Facebook can’t allow people to send money to each other without any fees, the company does have to find a way to make it cheaper than, say, PayPal. So, how can you send money to a friend using your Facebook account? In the future, you will be able to simply open up Messenger, talk to a friend, and attach dollars to your message like you’d attach a photo. Those sources cited above claim that this method of sending money is faster and more secure than sending it through a site like PayPal, but Facebook is going to have to prove that security to its users first.
Some Security Concerns
Facebook has been called out before for gathering user details, not having a completely secure site, and for other security issues. So, the likelihood that users will instantly trust the social network to send funds is low. However, it’s certain that Zuckerberg and team are working on ways to make sure that money can be sent securely, and to ensure that things like debit card numbers and payment amounts are sent without any kind of security issues.
The idea here is that you will just be able to click on a saved debit or credit card number (credit cards are sure to follow), much as you would choose saved payment information if you were ordering, say, products from a company that you order from regularly. It has not been indicated formally when Facebook plans to unveil this payment system to the public, but some screenshots have been flying around the Internet today - I’m not going to add those here, since they have not been confirmed, but those are the rumours.
Big Business Ideas
While it will be useful to send friends money, it will also mean big business for companies that are already using Facebook. Customers that want to purchase something directly from a company on Facebook will soon just be able to send a quick payment through the social network. Imagine this scenario: you see an advertisement for something you want, you click “send money,” and you’ve just bought that item - Facebook is going to be huge for advertisements soon thanks to this new payment system.
The only question is: do you trust Facebook enough to send money through Messenger?