Facebook Launches P2P Payments, Denies 'Building Payments Business'

Without a doubt, mobile payment is hot topic these days. Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, are only a few that have stepped into the mobile payment battle, determined to create the next killer mobile wallet and payment system.

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Facebook Launches P2P Payments, Denies 'Building Payments Business'

Without a doubt, mobile payment is hot topic these days. Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, are only a few that have stepped into the mobile payment battle, determined to create the next killer mobile wallet and payment system.

The latest move came from Facebook, which unveiled Tuesday a new payments feature that allows users to send money through its messaging app, Facebook Messenger. The feature, which is expected to roll out in the US over the coming months, is defined as "a more convenient and secure way to send money between friends."

Users simply need to link their Visa or MasterCard debit card and tap the "$" button to send cash to their contacts on iOS, Android and desktop for zero fees. 

Facebook, which claims to be processing over 1 million transactions daily, is putting security as its top priority. The company said:

"These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe."

The social media giant, which has been in "a good partnership" with PayPal since 2008, started to change its stand in 2010 when it announced the Facebook Credits currency.

Commenting on Facebook Messenger's new feature, a PayPal spokesperson told Techcrunch that "it does have similar technology and does a similar thing to what Venmo does," while avoiding the term "competitor."

Meanwhile, Facebook's product manager Steve Davis said they were "not building a payments business here," and were essentially focusing on providing a free P2P payment system to make Messenger "more useful, expressive and delightful."

P2P Money Transfer

Facebook isn't the first Internet giant company to launch its in-app P2P money transfer feature.

Following initial inroads made by Alipay and WeChat in China, in May 2013 Google's mobile payment system Google Wallet, announced an integration with Gmail to allow users to send money to each other by way of an "attachment" in an email.

The feature was first released in the US, before reaching the UK in late-January 2015.

In the crypto-space as well, various projects are looking to benefit from the popularity of instant messaging systems to boost cryptocurrency acceptance and use. In late-February 2015, Telebit released the first version of its built-in Bitcoin wallet in Telegram, allowing 50 million users to send bitcoins to their friends and contacts.

Similarly, GetGems and SendChat, are two instant messaging applications based on the open-source software of Telegram that both include a cryptocurrency wallet.

With the recent news of Japan's largest e-commerce business Rakuten, starting to accept Bitcoin as a payment method on global marketplaces, it may now be prudent to watch for Viber's upcoming moves. 


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