Last week, the social media giant Facebook posted an announcement on their web site that could revolutionize the way people send and receive money online. Currently, the two major players in the money transfer arena are PayPal and the iconic Western Union, but it now appears that Facebook is gaining ground on them.
According to a report on Jewish Business News, Facebook told its subscribers that “We’re adding a new feature in Messenger that gives people a more convenient and secure way to send or receive money between friends. This feature will be rolling out over the coming months in the US.”
Facebook projects that there are a billion and a quarter people out there in cyberspace who are potential users for this app and the results could be nothing less than phenomenal.
The report on the JBN site describes the process of precisely how the new app works. “To send money, you’ll start a message with a friend, tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send, then tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money. To receive money, you’ll open the conversation from your friend, tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time. The money you send is transferred right away. 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.”
The money messaging idea started its incubation period in June of 2014 when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hired David Marcus, who was then the president of PayPal, to become the vice president of its messaging products division.
At the time, Marcus extended plaudits to Zuckerberg and his forward thinking ideas on his Facebook page: “Mark Zuckerberg and I got together. Mark shared a compelling vision about Mobile Messaging. At first, I didn’t know whether another big company gig was a good thing for me, but Mark’s enthusiasm, and the unparalleled reach and consumer engagement of the Facebook platform ultimately won me over. So… yes. I’m excited to go to Facebook to lead Messaging Products. And I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty again attempting to build something new and meaningful at scale.”
Regarding widespread concerns of identity theft or breaches of security in the new system, Facebook took steps to allay users’ worries. They posted that: “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. We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards.
“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.”