The payment feature of Facebook’s Messenger platform has already been active for some time now. As a matter of fact, the feature has already been utilized by Facebook users since March of this year. However, the payment feature was only made available in select areas within the United States, such as New York City.
But all of that changes now as Facebook recently revealed that the payment functionality of its Messenger service has been expanded to all users living within the US. This means that any Facebook user based in any state in America can now send and receive money via Messenger.
Messenger truly has gone a long way since the social media giant decided to make its messaging platform a separate entity from the main Facebook entity. In June of this year, the company had stated that Messenger now has 700 million users, an improvement from the 600 million users it gained in March earlier in the year and from the 500 million users it reached in November of 2014.
Even as it continues to attract more users, Facebook’s Messenger has also gone through a lot of enhancements, one of which is the payment functionality. The feature was first introduced by Facebook back in October last year, and then subsequently started testing it in March of this year. Basically, it allows users to connect their Visa debit card or MasterCards to their Messenger accounts. Once they have done that, they can simply click on an icon displayed within the Messenger app, and then proceed to sending a definite amount of money to family members or friends. The whole process is quick, with the transferred cash immediately going from one user’s checking account to the recipient’s account.
Payments wired through digital means is by no means a new concept. PayPal has been basically doing it for years. But quite recently, companies that you normally do not associate with this kind of thing are joining in on the fun. Facebook Messenger is obviously one of them, so is Snapchat, which in November of 2014 collaborated with mobile payment Square in launching Snapcash, another peer to peer, digital payment system. And let us not forget mobile tech companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung who are also introducing their own takes on the concept, e.g. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay.
There certainly has been an increased appreciation for mobile and other contactless payment methods. Industry watchers are expecting that mobile payments in the US will grow to $27.5 billion by 2016 -- that would be a major improvement over 2014’s $3.5 billion. Furthermore, the number of mobile payment users in the country will increase to 36.2 million by then. Now that Facebook Messenger has already entered into the world of mobile payments, those figures could grow even bigger.
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