Facebook is reportedly working on incorporating payments functionality into its popular messaging app, Messenger. Users would then be able to make person-to-person money transfers, probably – at least initially – commission-free.

Mobile Messaging Apps Incorporating Payments Functionality

A student from Stanford University recently revealed in a tweet that while looking at the code for Facebook’s dedicated messaging application, Messenger, he had unearthed evidence of the company’s plan to enable in-app payment transfers.

The number of peer-to-peer payment applications available is now soaring. Such apps make it easy for people to conclude transactions between each other and in general do not charge any commission for the service.

San Francisco-based Square, founded in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is one leading company that enables virtual financial transactions.  In October last year Square launched Square Cash, which allows you to send or receive money directly from a mobile app. When incorporated into a standard messaging app, money transfers can be made in the middle of a conversation just by using the ‘request’ and ‘send’ buttons.

Like Square Cash, Venmo, also based in San Francisco, also enables reimbursements and payments between friends in the form of a conversation.

Facebook has not yet made any official announcement about its payments functionality, but the general view is that Mark Zuckerberg’s firm will not charge for transactions. Given that the world’s leading social network currently has over a billion users and has just acquired WhatsApp, which boasts 500 million users, the outcome of the in-conversation payments strategy could be huge, especially since ex-PayPal President David Marcus has now been hired to take charge of Facebook Messenger.

Meanwhile Google is also thinking of developing its own messaging app for emerging markets, where the use of SMS for making micro-payments is already widespread.

By Arthur de Villemandy