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Facebook has always been great at connecting people, and now it will soon begin connecting bank accounts. Relying on the ease and convenience of Facebook Messenger, the social media giant is enabling peer-to-peer financial transactions, which will add new dimensions to the customer experiences of its millions of global members.
Announced without a flashy title or with regards to an overly creative customer engagement marketing campaign, Facebook’s nameless application will soon allow Android, iOS, and desktop users to send payments to other members through their secure network. The new peer-to-peer payment option also promises to be incredibly quick and easy. To complete the setup process, Facebook must simply link a Visa or MasterCard to an existing account and then create a Touch ID on an Apple device, or a PIN number on any other device.
After the initial setup, users can hit the “$” icon on their devices, enter an amount, hit “pay,” and the appropriate funds are automatically deposited into the targeted bank account. The entire process only takes seconds and removes the need for any third-party involvement. Facebook will also allow users to add additional security layers of account authentication if they so choose.
This new feature is an attempt to further meet the growing customer engagement demands of mobile savvy consumers that are increasingly expecting a connected, immediate, and personalized customer experience. Many brands are racing to provide these types of services and Facebook hopes its new function will rise above the other players in the online financial transaction arena, which, of course, also includes PayPal.
And PayPal has clearly been on Facebook’s mind. Perhaps in anticipation of the eventual launch of this transactional service, Facebook had already brought former PayPal CEO David Marcus on board in 2014. Marcus is now overseeing Facebook’s entire Messenger department. Steve Davis, product manager for Facebook’s new payment service, also recently told TechCrunch that development on the project was in progress when Marcus was hired last year.
While somewhat more limited in scope than PayPal’s versatile platform, one of Facebook’s main advantages is that it will be free to use with a debit or credit card. Although, since the popular social media platform already processes over a million transactions every day, the company has stated that it may take a few days before Facebook Messenger payments become available to recipients once they are sent.
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