In a Facebook post 6 hours back (from the time this article was posted), David Marcus announced the availability of Facebook Messenger based peer to peer payments to everyone in the U.S. In an update just a couple of hours ago, David Marcus also said "We now have triggers. So any amount starting with a $ is hyperlinked to the send money flow. Try typing "Send me $20". That's our early version of request money. On limits. They vary. But they should be high enough for most people and usages right now."
In a Facebook post the following video was shown to launch the product.
Message from David Marcus: We're happy to announce that Messenger person-to-person payments are now available to everyone in the U.S.! Add your Debit Card and pay anyone on Messenger in a few taps. Money goes straight from your checking account to the recipient's checking account. Easy and safe. As always, give it a try it and let us know how we can make even better for you!
Please note the following points:
1) David Marcus had said earlier that the company isn't trying to build a payment business through its messenger app, as many outsiders have anticipated. He also told CNBC "Peer-to-peer payments is never going to be a source of profit for anyone,"
2) It is good to keep in mind that Facebook Messenger has 600M monthly active users. A lot of them would be outside US actually.
3) To become a person to person payment system in the US, the company must apply for and be granted a money transmitter license in every state. Facebook has been approved money transmitter licenses in every US state and territory along with many European and Asian countries.
4) Facebook thinking on payments is that "We're not interested in building a payments business. We're interested in trying to build the best possible experience."
5) Facebook has also made forays into the payments market through some other initiatives. We had covered those news items in the past. Facebook had applied for an e-money license in Ireland for P2P money transfers in Europe. Earlier, Facebook had also introduced “Facebook Credits” for users for buying apps on Facebook. There are already some banks who offer Facebook-based money apps. The list includes First National Bank of South Africa, CommBank, ICICI, RBC and ASB.
But I am not sure if I can believe all of the above. Several scenarios seem possible for Facebook now as I have said earlier also:
- Facebook becomes an international bank – an e-money bank with or without collaboration with traditional banks around the world, providing a singular platform for the world’s different currencies and making it easy for users to save, invest & transfer money or conduct commerce
- Facebook becomes the biggest e-commerce player on the planet, with Facebook pages acting as virtual retail outlets. Payment methods are integrated to complete commerce transactions. Consumers can use Facebook’s Messaging apps to get in touch with sellers to find out more about products and discuss terms of payment. Also, it can work conversely for sellers, making Facebook a big platform for negotiating and making deals.
- Facebook becomes the biggest remittance giant in the world, providing high-volume, secure cross-border payments day after day – like a digital version of Western Union.