Facebook P2P Hits NYC, Adds New Features (June 1, 2015)
Facebook Messenger’s money transfer service has arrived in the New York City market decked out with a few added features. First launched in March, Facebook’s P2P money transfer service has previously gone live for Messenger app users in a handful of cities, including Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas. Now, the service—which enables users to transfer money via a linked debit card—has come to New York City and the surrounding metro area and added new capabilities, according to a report from Website WebProNews. The new functions include the ability to send money to a specific friend within a group chat (previously, transfers were limited to one-on-one conversations) and dollar amounts now appearing as hyperlinks when typed in chat conversations, similar to how URLs or phone numbers appear in a chat. When a user clicks the link, he must confirm the payment to initiate the transfer.
The service’s New York City launch marks a major step for Facebook’s P2P expansion. But the social media giant isn’t viewing money transfer as a direct revenue-generating opportunity, Facebook product manager Steve Davis said in an interview with re/code in March. The company is believed to be leveraging Messenger payments to bolster its advertising and e-commerce business—for instance, by using stored payment accounts to enable payments between users and advertisers.
Messenger’s 500 million registered users comprise a formidable potential audience for the P2P service, but competition in the space is growing. Along with established players like PayPal and Venmo, other social media providers also are looking to get into the game. Last November, social messaging service Snapchat teamed up with Square to launch Snapcash, a feature that enables users to send and receive money within the Snapchat messaging app. Twitter also has money transfer plans, including a pair of initiatives with banks in India and France that enable users to send funds via the company’s social messaging platform.