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Facebook Pay: Make payments across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook

Facebook has announced the arrival of a new payment system that will work across their apps: Instagram, WhatsApp, and of course, Facebook. Facebook Pay, as it is aptly named, is designed to provide a “convenient, secure” payment method that will allow users of its platforms to send money, donate to causes, or even to pay for shopping on any of the apps.

This comes in light of the company’s recent troubles with its partners for the Libra Association, with many big-name partners already withdrawing from the alliance to provide a new crypto-currency in the relatively near future. However, Facebook says that this new venture is built on existing financial infrastructures, and is independent of the Calibra eWallet and Libra network.

Instead, this appears to be a more conventional payment system, that has seems to be part of a continued push by Facebook to tap into the potential of its Facebook Marketplace and WhatsApp Business markets. Recently, Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp, announced that they are pushing a new feature called “Catalogs for Business” that will allow vendors on WhatsApp to display their products directly on their WhatsApp profiles.

The way it works, you’ll need to add a payment method on the Facebook site or app, with the option to set it up on WhatsApp/Instagram individually or to set Facebook to allow for the details to be used across multiple apps. The service will support “most credit and debit cards”, along with PayPal, while the payments will be processed using Stripe and PayPal’s services.

Addressing any potential security concerns, Deborah Liu, Facebook VP of Marketplace & Commerce, explains:

“We designed Facebook Pay to securely store and encrypt your card and bank account numbers, perform anti-fraud monitoring on our systems to detect unauthorised activity and provide notifications for account activity. You can also add a PIN or use your device biometrics, such as touch or face ID recognition, for an extra layer of security when sending money or making a payment. Facebook does not receive or store your device’s biometric information.”

It appears that Facebook Pay could function in a similar way to Samsung Pay (although that doesn’t allow for P2P transfers just yet), with payments made directly from your credit/debit card into the account of a friend.

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What is interesting is the ability to send money directly to a friend via Facebook Messenger, which could theoretically be one of the more convenient ways to transfer smaller amounts. Small business owners that utilise platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram could also have a more streamlined process where it comes to receiving payments for goods sold online.

Facebook Pay is rolling out on Facebook and Messenger this week in the U.S., although there aren’t concrete dates for a global rollout or for the introduction of the service on Instagram or WhatsApp just yet. However, that should be coming sometime in the future, with Liu saying:

“Over time, we plan to bring Facebook Pay to more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp.”