Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently launched a payment feature on its Messenger platform that allows users to send and receive money from friends. That does not mean that Facebook is planning become a bank but essentially an intermediary according to the Financial Times for matching payments between parties plugged in on its messaging network.
The giant social network is looking to take advantage of its huge user base to facilitate payment flow within the platform. To enjoy the service, Messenger users will have to share their debit or credit card details that will be used to set up a charge account awaiting instructions from users. When one wishes to send money to a friend, he/she will have to tell Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) the amount to be sent as well as the recipient.
Recipients will also have to share their bank details to be able to retrieve any payment, upon receiving an alert that they have received a certain amount of money. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will remain the custodian for as long as funds remain unclaimed. Users will also be given an option of opting out of the service when they feel like doing so, in line with consumer protection service.
The service will first be limited to users on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) waiting to see if it will be expanded to other networks. There are other technologies in operation that allow for the transfer of money to other networks all catering for commercial entities. Google has already launched an email payment service that allows email holders to transfer funds to other people with an email address irrespective of the network. Recipients basically receive a message saying Google has a credit for them if and when they provide their bank account details.
Apple Pay is another functioning system that allows for the transfer of payment to any registered vendor on Apple network. It remains to be seen how long Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will offer its service for free at least to non-commercial users.
It is, however, important before signing up for the service to read the terms and conditions about the kind of data that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will be collecting. Information on one’s spending habits could be extremely personal but of importance to social media companies that derive most of their revenues from advertising.
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