PayPal really aren’t having a great time at the moment – as well as Apple Pay being released at some point in October, it now looks like Facebook are stepping into the mobile payments arena. Computer Science student Andrew Aude has found hidden code in the Facebook Messenger that allows you to make mobile payments – all Facebook have to do is turn on the feature.
The new feature will enable users to send money in the app in a similar way to how people currently send photos. Users can either add a new debit card via the Messenger app or use the one already on file on Facebook (if you’ve bought anything on the social network before).
What isn’t clear is whether Facebook will monetise the service; they could charge a smell fee on each transaction or it could be a free to use service to encourage users to use the app. The latter may be the better option for Facebook, especially as there have been recent concerns about the permissions the Messenger app requires.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s Q2 earnings call;
“Over time there will be some overlap between Messenger and payments. The payments piece will be a part of what will help drive the overall success and help people share with each other and interact with businesses.”
Andrew didn’t see an option for PayPal in the app but there are notes about the mobile payment giant in the code so there might be hope for them yet! To start with, the payments will be person to person only but there’s a note in the code that explains “In the short term, we will only support single payment attachment. Multiple payment attachments will be supported in the future.”