Facebook announced that the payments feature will allow friends to send money to each other at no extra cost. The money is sent instantly but may take a few days to actually show up in the recipients bank account.

Send Money To Friends via Facebook Messenger

Security is paramount

One of the principal concerns for any new money transfer service is security, and Facebook was quick to address the issue. A secure system will encrypt the connection between the user and Facebook, in addition to your card information, when you upload your details.

New in-house security teams are being formed to handle the new system. Payment systems will be kept in a separate, secure environment to other parts of the Facebook network, which will be subject to additional monitoring. The system will be monitored by anti-fraud specialists looking out for suspicious purchase activity, and Facebook points to its experience in handling payments for games as another reason why new users should not be worried.

The first time you send a payment, you’ll have to add a Mastercard or a Visa debit card issued from a bank in the U.S.. There is no timeline for the introduction of a credit card option, or when the payment system will be introduced for users in countries outside the U.S..

Fast, easy payments between Facebook users

Google recently introduced a payments feature for Gmail users, and a host of other payment services such as Venmo are also vying for users’ attention. The beauty of paying via Facebook is that the majority of people use the social network regularly, and it is likely that any friends you have on other networks will also be your friend on Facebook.

This means that payments are seamlessly integrated into an existing service that has a huge following, so rather than adding new friends on a service such as Venmo, you use Facebook to pay them back. This ease of use could make life difficult for other payment service providers.

If Facebook introduces the service for users outside the U.S. it could also pose a challenge established players such as PayPal.