Facebook‘s messaging app now includes a new service enabling users to to send money instantly to their friends after registering a bank-issued Visa or MasterCard debit card, the social networking giant announced Tuesday.
Given Facebook’s dominance in social media, its new service is a huge development in the burgeoning peer-to-peer payments market.
“Once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN to provide additional security the next time you send money,” Facebook says. “On iOS (Apple) devices. you can also enable Touch ID. As always, you can add another layer of authentication to your account at any time.”
Sending money through instant messaging is relatively new in the United States, but not abroad. Asia-based services, such as China’s WeChat and Alipay, already allow their hundreds of millions of users to message money.
Facebook’s announcement Tuesday is peppered with assurances of security for its new service.
“We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you,” Facebook says.
The 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,” the company says.
A team of anti-fraud specialists look for suspicious purchase activity, Facebook says.
“The money you send is transferred right away,” Facebook says. “It may take one to three business days to make the money available to you depending on your bank, just as it does with other deposits.”