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New Facebook Messenger Feature Allows You to Transfer Money

The Meanest Blue Stacks

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Somewhere within the confines of your brain, there is likely a space dedicated to all the passwords, security questions and recovery email addresses that you need to know in order to be able to navigate your ever-increasing clutch on online accounts. It’s irritating, isn’t it? Having to remember all that sign-in info, it’s nice to imagine that one day the process will be easier, more streamlined, but I don’t think I’ll ever take issue with how long it takes me to get into my bank account.

On mine, I need two passwords to get in, then if I want to transfer some money the bank calls me when prompted and sends me a passcode which I have to input to prove that it’s actually me. It takes a while, but I’m sure as hell not complaining, the fact that I can access all my money online is disconcerting enough with the knowledge that there’s so much security between me and it, never mind without. Even Paypal freaks me out, you only need one password for that and then you just the ‘pay now’ button and you’re done. If you buy a game on the Playstation Store it doesn’t even ask you if you’re sure before putting the purchase through, it just does it. I’ve never accidently hit ‘purchase’ on a game or DLC pack I didn’t want on there before but I’ll bet it’s happened to a lot of people.

Taking that into account, I find this news that Facebook have introduced a money transfer aspect to messenger more than a little bit unsettling. The feature is being brought out through staggered release in the US for desktop, android and iOS in the US over the next few months. How it works is fairly simple: you add your debit card information to your messenger settings, hit a little ‘$’ icon, input the amount and press ‘Pay’. The recipient need only open up the message, select ‘accept’ and wait for it to go through (it takes up to 3 working days, as is the standard with most electronic transfers). I don’t know about you, but the voice in my head that frets over finances and security was screaming quite loudly the entire time I typed out that description.

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The thinking behind it is that people might as well be able to complete small financial transactions in the same place that they discuss them, rather than having to tab out and open up their online banking (I know right, what a laborious, taxing task that was). The higher Facebook’s engagement rates are, the better it is for them, so any feature that keeps people from tabbing out is worth their while. Having people’s payment details registered could well also mean that Facebook will implement some kind of online shopping arm sometime in the near future too, which makes sense, given all the targeted advertising that appears on the site.

That being said, they’re not the only ones in on the act, there are a few dedicated mobile financial transfer apps, but Snapchat have an internal one too called Snapcash. It’s pretty niche, but supposedly a lot of people are using it to pay for strip-tease videos. Go on, groan away, nobody will blame you. Still, this new system is the only one which brings financial transfers onto the exact same platform which allows you to send a cartoon image of an owl making it rain.

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Facebook are fairly adamant that the security is sound, it uses the same PCI standard that adheres to other online financial transactions, but I see people having their Facebook accounts misused by others on a daily basis and while the odd ‘frape’ here and there never did that much harm, things could take a very dark turn once money becomes involved. Maybe this is just the direction things are headed in, perhaps I’m just being a grumpy old man, but don’t come crying to me when Skynet takes all your money and invests it in killbots and neurotoxin.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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New Facebook Messenger Feature Allows You to Transfer Money Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 Rating: 5
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