Facebook has made its first move into UK mobile payments, launching a new feature which allows users to send and receive cash via its Messenger app.
The UK has become the first country outside the US in which Facebook has introduced its payments feature for users. Facebook’s payments tool has been available to Messenger app users in the US since 2015.
The new feature will permit UK Messenger app users to transfer cash with a message, emoji or giff. During the first payment, the Messenger app will request users’ bank details to be entered, with Visa and Mastercard platforms both supported.
In a blog post announcing the launch, head of Messenger at Facebook, David Marcus, said: “In the US, most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time.
“Our research shows the top reasons for sending money include celebrations, social, and festive occasions. It’s those everyday moments we’re trying to make a little easier.”
Users will be able to send a maximum of £2,500 in a single transaction, and there’ll be a rolling 30-day transfer limit of £10,000 per user. However, Facebook expects that most users will use the service to transfer much smaller amounts of cash.
Facebook has said it will not be charging fees for sending or receiving money with the Messenger app, and promises users that once a transfer is made, a receiver’s bank account will be credited within one to three business days.
Messenger app users will be prompted to enter their card details if they haven’t set themselves up for receiving payment once a transfer’s been made. For added security, users will be able to set a Pin number for sending payments.
With the majority of UK banks already supporting direct money transfers through their own banking apps, it is not yet clear how much impact Facebook’s feature will have on the UK mobile payments landscape.
However, according to Marcus, demand for a mobile payments tool on the Messenger app has grown drastically. “More and more people are having conversations on Messenger about paying one another,” he told the BBC.
“As a result, it’s a very natural place for you to have the most frictionless and secure way of paying each other.”
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