Remember when Facebook Messenger broke out of Facebook proper? A lot of users, including yours truly, were seriously irked. Why did we have to switch to entire different app just to chat with a Facebook friend?
Turns out Facebook had bigger plans for Messenger, including voice calls, chat bots, chess games and — who knew? — mobile payments.
It’s true: You can use the Facebook Messenger app to send and receive money, PayPal-style.
Well, not quite — Messenger payments require a debit card on both ends of the transaction. But there’s no cost to use the service, which offers PIN-based protection and “industry-leading security,” according to Facebook. Here’s how to get started:
Step one: Add your debit card. In the Messenger app for Android, tap the Profile icon, then scroll down and tap Payments. In the iOS app, tap Settings, then Payments. Tap Add New Debit Card and complete that process.
Step two: Open a chat with the person you want to send money to or from whom you want to request money. Tap the little “more” icon in the toolbar; it’s the one with three dots in a rectangular box.
Step three: Tap Payments, then Next to bypass the info screen. By default, you’ll be in the Pay screen; enter an amount you want to pay that person and a note indicating what the payment is for. Then tap Pay and you’re done!
Step four: If you want to request money instead, tap Request at the top of the screen, enter the amount and reason, then tap the Request button to complete the process.
With either action, the transaction will appear as embedded item right inline with your existing chat. From there the recipient can either accept or deny just by tapping.
And that’s it! Assuming you and the people you know use debit cards, this is an awfully easy way to perform electronic transactions on the go. Awfully free, too.