Facebook launches in-app payments
Written by Hannah McGrath
Facebook is set to launch a new payments feature this week, allowing users to send and receive payments on its social media platforms, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The announcement follows months of speculation over the progress of Facebook’s closely guarded plans for an in-app payments feature, as well as the controversial announcement of plans to launch the Libra digital currency and the Calibra digital currency wallet, which are separate to Facebook Pay and are currently scheduled for launch in 2020.
Facebook users can already send money through the Messenger app and US customers can pay for a limited selection of items on Instagram in the US, but Facebook Pay will open up Facebook’s apps to a much wider range of e-commerce opportunities.
Facebook Pay will enable users to set up a digital payments wallet and save a preferred payment method to make payments and purchases on Facebook’s apps without having to re-enter their payment information with each transaction.
Facebook said the service, which will initially launch in the US this week, will be “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships” and paves the way for Facebook’s long-anticipated move to establish itself as a global payments provider to rival the likes of PayPal and Apple Pay.
A blog announcing the Facebook Pay feature said customers will be able to view their payment history, manage payment methods and update their settings within the apps, along with a real time customer support service via live chat for customers in the US. The service will be extended to other countries in future.
Facebook Pay will begin rolling out on Facebook and Messenger this week in the US for fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace.
Deborah Liu, vice president of marketplace and commerce, explained that over time the company planned to bring Facebook Pay to “more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp”.
Facebook Pay will support most major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal, according to the statement. Payments are processed in partnership with existing payments companies like PayPal, Stripe and others around the world.
The company explained that customer’s card and account data will be securely stored and encrypted and that Facebook Pay would involve anti-fraud monitoring on its systems to detect unauthorised activity and provide notifications for account activity.
The blog read: “You can also add a PIN or use your device biometrics, such as touch or face ID recognition, for an extra layer of security when sending money or making a payment. Facebook does not receive or store your device’s biometric information.”
Liu added: “Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps – and in doing so, we believe we can help businesses grow and empower people everywhere to buy and sell things online.”