Facebook Messenger could soon allow people to transfer money to their contacts on the social networking platform, a report said Sunday. The new functionality will require users to add details of a checking account card to the Messenger application, while an in-app code will serve as additional security.
The money transfer feature will work in the same way that Facebook users share photographs via Messenger, TechCrunch reported, citing Andrew Aude, a computer science student at Stanford University, who posted hacked screenshots of the new functionality by using Cycript, an iOS app exploration developer tool. Aude who reportedly used Cycript on his jailbroken iPhone and turned on the payments feature by simply hitting a button, believes Facebook is likely to introduce the new feature in the next few months in the U.S.
It is unclear if Facebook will charge a fee for the feature or if it will use it as a way to attract new users to the app, which is currently headed by David Marcus, who was formerly the president of PayPal. If and when the new feature becomes operational, it will compete directly with existing services, such as Venmo, PayPal, Square Cash and other peer-to-peer money transfer apps, according to TechCrunch.
— Andrew Aude (@andyplace2) October 4, 2014
During Facebook’s second quarter earnings call in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that there would some overlap between the Messenger and a new payments feature. However, he suggested that the plan could take some time to materialize as “there’s so much groundwork for us to do.”
Although the feature could initially allow one-to-one transactions, it is expected to eventually allow group payments, TechCrunch reported, adding that the payments-related code in the Messenger app was first discovered by security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski in September.