Facebook recently announced the rollout of a payments service which will be embedded within its popular Messenger app, leveraging its already-vast user base. This move was obviously a long time in coming, and it follows on the heels of Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and, most similarly, Snapchat’s Snapcash feature. I am certain that, down the line, Facebook will use this new feature to more smoothly facilitate birthday gifts or online marketplaces.
The issue with most payment services is the “opt-in” nature. I’ve tried to pay – or be paid – by friends for various expenses, and the most common issue would be that I didn’t have Venmo, they didn’t have PayPal, or, in a commercial setting, that a vendor might not have an NFC reader for Google Wallet or Apple Pay.
Facebook’s ubiquity – both nationally and globally – means that there is a pretty minimal barrier to purchase or payment for the consumer, since he or she already trusts Facebook, and since, critically, no additional app is necessary. In contrast, Venmo is obviously less well-known than Facebook, and PayPal – despite its name recognition – still requires a new account. And both services require an additional app. By piggybacking on its Messenger platform, Facebook has managed to effortlessly opt into its users devices, without more than an update. Additionally, Facebook payments will utilize its customers’ debit – not credit – cards, which will permit lower costs per transaction.
And ultimately, anything that allows my friends to more easily send me Starbucks giftcards on my birthday is just fine by me.