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Your Long Lost Facebook Acquaintances Can Now Beg You For Money

Facebook’s Messenger app will soon let you send money with the tap of a “$” button.

Your Long Lost Facebook Acquaintances Can Now Beg You For Money
[Photo: Flickr user Infusionsoft Sales & Marketing Software for Small Businesses]

Remember that kid who sat behind you in home room in 10th grade? The one who was asleep half the time? No? Well, anyway, he needs to borrow some money. And since you reluctantly accepted his Facebook friend request years ago, you just lost one excuse.

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That’s because Facebook is getting into the peer-to-peer payments game, according to Re/Code. Using Facebook’s standalone Messenger app, users will soon be able to send money to one another with the simple tap of a button (accompanied by a PIN, or, if you have an iPhone 5S or later, your fingerprint). Enter your credit or debit card credentials into the Messenger app and–voila!–you can send money to any of your Facebook friends by tapping the dollar sign icon that will soon show up in the app. If they don’t have a debit card tied to their Facebook account, Facebook will hold onto the money until they do.

Facebook isn’t exactly an innovator in this space: We’ve been able to send money effortlessly to each other with apps like Venmo, PayPal, and even Snapchat for some time now. What makes this different is Facebook’s footprint. With 1.3 billion active users, the gargantuan social network is already connecting a huge swath of the world’s population. The average person doesn’t rush to sign up for new mobile payment apps, but your aunts and uncles are likely already on Facebook, just waiting to send you cash.

Screenshots: via Facebook

This move has big implications for both Facebook and its users. For one thing, this is by far the most universally practical use case for which Facebook has asked users for their financial credentials. Not everyone is going to buy a social ad unit or make an in-game purchase on Facebook, but the need to send or receive money is something virtually everyone experiences at some point. As a result, Facebook is likely going to amass far more credit and debit card info on its servers, something that will undoubtedly come in handy when the social giant figures out more ways to milk us for revenue.

And yes, the credit card data will live on its servers. Says Re/Code, Facebook built its own payment system for this rather than rely on a third party. That makes Facebook responsible for a whole new, very sensitive set of data and all the security considerations that go with it.

[via Re/Code]

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About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things. Find me here: Twitter: @johnpaul Instagram: @feralcatcolonist

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