Facebook announced this week that the long-rumored payments feature for its Messenger app will finally become available for U.S. users. The new feature will let users upload their debit card information and message their friends money, similar to how popular cash transfer app Venmo operates.
Over the coming months, the feature will roll out gradually to U.S. users. To send money, users must start a message conversation with a friend and then tap a “$” symbol in a toolbar at the bottom of the message. It’s a simple feature, but with Facebook’s privacy problems, it remains to be seen whether people will actually trust the site’s peer-to-peer payment system. Of course, Facebook spent much of its blog post announcing the feature preemptively addressing these concerns.
“We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information,” the site announced. “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.”
While the idea of using Facebook to wire money to your friends might seem entirely natural to Facebook, it’s a giant question whether or not users will be comfortable handing the site their financial information at all.