Facebook has unveiled a new addition to its instant messaging service that allows users to transfer cash to each other as easily as they send photos.
The roll out has long been expected, with screenshots of the feature even leaking online last October. But the social network has now officially launched its payments service, which will be available to users free of charge.
As demonstrated in a video released by Facebook (below), money can be transferred within Messenger by tapping the '$' icon, which allows users to enter the amount they wish to send. They then tap 'Pay' in the top right corner of the window and add their debit card to make the payment.
To receive cash for the first time, users simply hit 'Add Card' within the message and pop in their own debit card details. The money is then transferred straight away, though like any other deposit, it may take a couple of business days to come through, depending on the bank.
The new feature will be introduced in the coming months in the US across Android, iOS, and desktop.
While Facebook has processed payments for game players and advertisers since 2007, it has still been keen to address user's potential security concerns surrounding the new feature, assuring them that secure systems of the highest standards are being.
"Incorporating security best practices into our payments business has always been a top priority," the company wrote in a statement.
"We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you. We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards.
"These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe."
Facebook has not revealed any external software that might be powering its new payments system. However, rollout of the feature may explain its decision to hire David Marcus, PayPal’s former head of mobile payments.
Marcus left the e-commerce giant last June to take up his new role as Facebook’s vice-president of messaging products. Upon the announcement, the company praised his “track record of building great products and finding creative ways to turn them into great businesses”.
Online payments image via Shutterstock