We’ve slowly but surely hit an era where payment methods are shifting from your wallet to your smartphone, and once again the social giant Facebook was quick to adjust.
A few weeks ago, Facebook announced the rollout of a new Messenger function that allows you to send friends money online. Not quite as sophisticated as Apple Pay, the new Facebook function more closely resembles payment apps like Venmo.
To be completely honest, I’m sort of a Venmo convert. When it first came out, I was skeptical simply because it was a) free and b) dealing with access to my debit accounts. That being said, I did some research, and now I find myself using it to transfer money all the time; my roommates even send me their portions of our rent, cable and utility bill on it!
So, seeing Facebook rollout a tool to send money to people was quite exciting. Here’s how it works:
Start a message with a friend, like the one between my colleague Sorrina and I below, and hit the “$” icon. Then, enter the amount you’d like to send.
Then, enter a debit card number. Note that, just like most virtual money transfers, Facebook does not accept credit cards for this feature.
Pay! Boom, the money is automatically sent and transferred within three business days.
So, is it safe?
Generally the rule is: nothing on the Internet is guaranteed to be safe. However, it’s fair to say that we all shop online, meaning that we’ve all entered out credit and debit card information and trusted that nothing sketchy would happen.
The same concept applies to digital payment transfers, including Facebook’s new feature. As one of the biggest and most well known social networks in existence, Facebook certainly hasn’t harvested the reputation of stealing money from its users or exposing them to major financial security risks. And when you read about paying people with Facebook online, you’ll see that security is a top priority. (You can activate added security features, such as an online PIN, for example).
My rule is this: would I pay someone for a car or house with it? No. But for your everyday expenses between friends, it’s certainly something worth exploring. Plus, you’ve always got a record of every transaction… so there’s no more “you never paid me for that” banter that everyone likes to avoid.