Facebook is having a hard time getting back on the popularity list; the company’s latest attempt to take on Snapchat is already forgotten. However, Facebook Messenger might just compensate for the failures the company had recently.
While many have been trying for years to offer the best way for online payment (I am still searching for one), now with social media on the market things are radically changing. For those whose professional life revolves around Facebook, this might be the biggest advantage of social media ever. Is this the death of Venmo perhaps? Can Facebook compete with PayPal or Square Cash?
Thanks to one curious computer science student, we have had an opportunity to see screenshots and video of the new payment platform that is built in the current version of Facebook Messenger for iOS. From what we know from the video and screenshots, users can send money to friends just like attaching a photo to a message, while currently only accepting debit card payments. In this early version, there are no fees for money transfers, though this is probably going to change, and in-app pin code for security exists.
Facebook’s ambition to enter this market is not surprising, Facebook needs to “stay alive”, but what does this mean for other payment services? Facebook is available in every country, and this means PayPal is going to be forced to open its services to the countries where it’s currently unavailable. However, which way will people go? Will they keep using proven services or turn to Facebook? Venmo is, for instance, very popular, but so is Facebook, and the fact that one can send money immediately within the app he or she is already using is a huge advantage. If you are running a business on Facebook and use Messenger to talk to your customers, they will be able to use it as a payment service as well, and that’s a smart move. Millions have the Messenger app, and not many have money-transferring apps.
There are many advantages, as well as questions on security and privacy. Much has been said after Facebook started testing the “buy button”, and now, with this Facebook’s initiative, more questions are coming. However, when it comes to the role of social media in the payment services, and their need to satisfy both consumers and marketers (Twitter), the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, offers a pretty good analysis. Will people buy on Facebook? Will they send money? Why?
„You don’t have to go to a special site to do your buying; the products come to you. And you don’t have to click away to another site to consummate the purchase—Once your payment details are on file with Twitter or Facebook, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and catching up with friends.“ However, „Facebook’s new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards) allows users who enter their credit card info to check out not only on the network but with 450,000 ecommerce merchants across the web.“
Isn’t this just another way to get data about consumers’ behavior?
Meanwhile you can already transfer money via tweets, that is, if you live in France.