Facebook Messenger said two months ago that it was getting into the payments game — a long-awaited move on Facebook’s part. Now, the team also plans to phase in two additional ways that people can pay each other inside the app.
Messenger announced on Wednesday new tweaks to its payments feature that tightens integration with the overall app. Facebook also expanded the availability of payments, which is being rolled out over the next few months; it’s already available in a handful of U.S. cities, such as Seattle, Portland and Austin, but will now include the New York metropolitan area.
The catch? The rest of your friends in the group chat can also see a notification in the message thread for that transaction. That’s great if you’re all trying to split the bill for camping supplies, but not so much if you want to keep the transaction more discreet (in which case, don’t pay your friend via group chat).
While payments is still slowly rolling out, Wednesday’s announcement offers another hint at Messenger’s longterm plans for the feature. Facebook doesn’t only want to give Messenger users peer-to-peer payments capability, it also aims to bake the feature into the entire app experience, wherever it might work — a move that makes sense given mobile payments’ rapid ascent. Forrester Research estimated that mobile payments will nearly triple in volume, from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion in 2019. Read more…