Making payments through Facebook Messenger and Apple iMessage

26 July 2017

State-of-the-art messengers allow you to share any data literally in one click. And what about the money? To lend or receive funds, to make a gift or throw a party is more than actual issue that ordinary person faces in everyday life. It would be a dream to transfer a certain amount just as simple as users exchange messages and photos in all kinds of “Vibers”, “WhatsApps” and “Telegrams”. Isn’t it right?

It is fortunate that similar services already exist – Facebook Messenger and Apple iMessage – which provide users with instant money transmission without visiting bank offices, filling in special forms, searching for necessary bank details and other fuss.

In the present article, we decided to have a closer look at these two e-payment options, offering an alternative to consumers in choosing the one that is most preferable for them to utilize.

Payments through Facebook Messenger

Peer-to-peer payments. Six months after the launch of the Messenger, Facebook implemented a peer-to-peer funds transfer function, which allows Messenger users to send and receive money to one another.

For the smooth operation of the new feature, both parties to the transaction need to link their current bank account to Messenger. Otherwise, every time when sending and receiving money they will have to submit bank details.  To request a payment, simply enter the amount in dollars in Messenger and the service will automatically add a hyperlink to make money remittance. Another way to transfer money within the service is to click on the icon in the form of coin below the message text box.

Messenger involves the use of Visa or MasterCard debit cards, issued by the US banks. Currently, the service does not support the following payment methods: credit cards, prepaid cards (for example, Google Wallet, H&R Block Emerald), reloadable prepaid cards, and PayPal. The process of getting funds in Messenger is instant. However, the bank may take up to 5 business days to deposit money into your account.

Facebook Messenger

Group payments. In April this year, the giant in the social network ecosystem expanded the above function, adding to its Messenger the support for group payments. Now you can bill your friends directly in Facebook chat.

It is enough to visit a group chat in order to send a payment request, select the corresponding chat participants (the sender of a bill may not include himself/herself), click on the payment icon and enter a certain amount – either total, or per user. When you indicate the total amount, it will be divided automatically in equal parts between all participants of the payment. Then you need to specify the purpose of the payment, and send the request. As soon as the funds are accumulated, the information will appear in the chat about who transferred the money.

The innovation is free, simple, fast and secure. From now on, Messenger users will be able to feel the ease of settlements between themselves while attending various events, purchasing a gift for a festive occasion, buying tickets for a trip and other similar causes. Currently, this feature is available only to the US users.

When paying more attention to money transfer service, Facebook is primarily affected by the popularity of Asian applications such as Tencent and WeChat, which allow Chinese consumers to buy goods and wire funds to other users within the system. In addition, the implementation of a great number of functions in a single application gives Messenger users the opportunity to access third-party applications less frequently.

Payments through Apple iMessage

Within the framework of the Worldwide Developer Conference 2017, Apple uncovered its new operating system for iPhone – iOS 11. Among the updates that will be available to owners of Apple smartphones are the new features of Apple Pay mobile wallet. Users of this payment service will be able to make peer-to-peer money transfers through iMessage.

Within iMessage, you can send and request money transfer from your contact list of friends with the click of a button. In addition, the integration of the messaging service and digital wallet will allow users to recognize text like “You owe me 20 dollars”, and automatically offer the smartphone owner to transfer funds from his/her bankcard.

All money remittance will hit a virtual card, the so-called Apple Pay Cash Card. The funds may be immediately withdrawn to a bank account, and may be spent in online or offline stores that accept Apple Pay. The virtual card will be stored in user’s mobile wallet along with other credit cards.

In fact, Apple releases a virtual card for each iOS user, whereon you can pay anywhere. In the media, this step has been already called “brilliant”, because that way Apple is expected to line its purse. Users will be able to receive and spend money without taking them out of the system, instead of transferring them to their bank account.

Apple iMessage

Introducing a new service in the market of e-payments, Apple did not reinvent the wheel. Companies, such as Square and Venmo, are already offering their customers to transfer money through this platform. However, Apple’s advantage is that the company seeks to establish control over the entire ecosystem, competing not only with other services of peer-to-peer payments, but also with bankcards.

Despite the existence of many payment-specific mobile apps, payment processing is mostly limited to cash and check payments (though diminishing) and card usage (still high). Providers of Facebook and Apple-like money transfer services are attempting to not only outpace the competitors, but also to replace such traditional and inconvenient methods. E-payments with innovative solutions embedded in the social networks, with their large user bases, will enjoy the advantage. The end user will be spoilt with a great choice – with a variety of options with new, enhanced features to make life convenient at zero cost. Facebook and Apple seem to be in the leading position as of now, ready to take on the might of e-commerce giants.

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