There are many, many ways to send money to your friends online, but that's not stopping Facebook from throwing its hat into the ring.
Facebook announced Tuesday that its Messenger app for mobile devices will let users send each other money. A Facebook spokesperson told The Huffington Post that users will also be able to send payments in the Chat feature for desktop, and that only users over 18 will be able to send payments via Messenger and Chat. The feature should roll out in the U.S. over the coming months.
It seems pretty simple to use, according to Facebook's instructions:
To send money:
1. Start a message with a friend
2. Tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send
3. Tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money
To receive money:
1. Open the conversation from your friend
2. Tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time
The company says it will take one to three days for the money to reach your bank.
Facebook has long allowed payments on its site for various reasons: games that let you purchase items with real money, for example, or a now-defunct gift card service.
For those concerned about security, the company said in its blog post that it handles over 1 million transactions every day and has a team of "anti-fraud specialists." If Facebook can convince people it'll keep their money safe, it could deliver a severe blow to mobile payment startup Venmo, which has been growing in popularity in recent months but has been slammed for its security problems.
If you do decide to use Facebook's money-transfer feature, you'll want to make sure your phone is encrypted or at least password-protected. Imagine leaving your device in a cab or at a bar with your debit card just a Facebook-tap away and connected to the largest social network on Earth. Yikes.
Thanks to an aggressive strategy basically forcing people to download the Messenger app, Facebook boasts at least 500 million users on Messenger. More than 1 billion people around the world have Facebook accounts.
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