It appears Facebook has plans to offer peer-to-peer payments within its Facebook messenger app. Stanford University student, Andrew Aude uncovered the code using a developer exploration tool for iOS apps. Aude says, "with Facebook Messenger, you attach money just like you attach a photo or a location."
@Facebook Messenger has P2P payments coming. @SquareCash style. pic.twitter.com/3NuXuuaMMC
— Andrew Aude (@andyplace2) October 4, 2014
There have been some rumblings Facebook would start exploring the payments market, but Mark Zuckerberg earlier in the year warned analysts and investors that:
"We're going to take the time to do this in the way that is going to be right over multiple years."
It's not surprising however that Facebook's messenger app will be the first big step the company takes into the market. First of all, Facebook hired the former president of PayPal, David Marcus, to head the product. Secondly, Facebook's insistence for user to download a separate messenger app now makes a lot more sense.
I must confess, Facebook's requirement that I download a second app to handle my messenges, rather than just handle them from within the standard Facebook app baffled and frustrated me. To the point where I deleted the standard app from my phone alongside not downloading the messenger app. It frustrated me that Facebook was taking features away from an app I used daily, and was trying to tell me it was for my own good.
The messenger app is a fine polished app I'm sure, but it's personally not what I'm looking for from Facebook - sorry guys, but Whatsapp beat you to it. But at least now I understand why Facebook have been so keen to get me to make the switch. I'm still not going to use it, buts it's nice to have better understanding why I was barraged daily on my Facebook mobile app to download the 'new improved' messenger.
Facebook peer-to-peer payments could be what help differentiate the company's messenger app, in what has become an extremely competitive market. There's a lot I don't like about the messenger app personally, but there's no doubt a simple and free peer-to-peer payments system could give Facebook the edge.
As of yet there has been no official word from Facebook on the screenshots or possibility of peer-to-peer payments, so who knows how long we will have to wait to fully grasp the companies full intentions in the space. It does suggest that Facebook recognise the importance of identity in the payments industry, something we can't help but agree with.
By Matthew Taylor 6th October 2014
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