Users of Facebook Messenger will soon be able to send and receive money between friends. The new feature will begin to be rolled out in the US over “the coming months”, and will be free to use, the social network said, Sky News reports.
A dollar sign icon will be added below the text entry box, next to where users tap to add audio notes, images or emojis.
Once the icon has been tapped, users will be able to enter the amount they wish to send and transfer it via their debit card.
It is not known yet if the feature will be extended outside the US.
Facebook has moved to reassure users that the system will be secure, pointing out that some financial transactions have been taking place on the site for years.
A spokesman said: “A dependable and trusted payments processor for game players and advertisers since 2007, Facebook processes more than one million transactions daily on the site and also handles all the payments processed on Messenger.
“Incorporating security best practices into our payments business has always been a top priority.
“We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you.
“We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards.
“These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receive additional monitoring and control.
“A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.”
The first time users access the service they will have to add a debit or credit card to their Facebook account.
Users will then be able to create and use a pin code to complete transfers.
Facebook confirmed that iPhone users will be able to use the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to send money.
The feature will also be accessible on desktop computers.