Facebook’s P2P Plans Come to Light (Oct. 7, 2014)
Facebook looks to be planning to add a money transfer function to its Messenger app—and the social media giant reportedly already has installed the underlying code to the popular messaging service. Stanford computer science student Andrew Aude used an app exploration developer tool to discover what appears to be a P2P payments function that enables users to send money in the same way they would send a photo via Facebook. Screenshots and video taken by Aude indicate that users can add a debit card in Messenger or use one already on file with Facebook. Only debit cards appear to work with the feature, not credit cards. With the money transfer code already installed in Messenger, Facebook presumably only has to “turn on” the function to get it up and running. The company could offer free transfers to drive adoption of Messenger—already used by 200 million people a month—or could charge a fee for the service.
The news is perhaps the strongest sign yet of Facebook’s P2P aims. The company already has obtained money service business (MSB) licenses in most states and signed money transfer deals with several global banks. And in June, Facebook hired former PayPal president David Marcus to head its mobile messaging efforts, signaling the company is prioritizing payments. Shortly after Marcus came aboard, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings call that there would eventually be “overlap” between Messenger and payments, but that the company would take its time to build out a payments platform.
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