As the payment option on Facebook Messenger passes its second anniversary, Facebook has finally added the option for users to pay or request money from more than one person at once.
The Facebook Messenger group payments feature, as with individual payments, is free: the social network is not taking a cut of peer-to-peer money transfers at this point, helping them to stand out from competitors like PopMoney. Whether or not Facebook Messenger’s payment service continues to be fee-free remains to be seen; however, there are some (including myself) who believe that the company may stick to monetizing their products via advertising for the foreseeable future.
Relying on ad revenue is a no-brainer for Facebook, who saw this grow to nearly $27 billion last year. Payments-based revenue, primarily from in-game purchases, is a tiny fraction of the company’s annual revenue—and it’s been on the decline since 2014.
Payments via Messenger require connecting a debit card to your Facebook account, which can be secured via PIN. Outside of being free of fees, the nice feature of group payments on Facebook Messenger is being able to keep track of people that have paid or not—think, while collecting fantasy football dues or splitting a large bar tab.
The Facebook Messenger group payments option is rolling out in the US on both Android and iOS this week.