Facebook is introducing peer-to-peer payments to its messaging app Messenger in the UK, letting people send cash to their friends and contacts.
The feature has existed in the US since 2015, but this is the first time it has been launched anywhere outside of the US or in a currency other than dollars.
“Our research shows the top reasons for sending money include celebrations, social, and festive occasions; it’s those everyday moments we’re trying to make a little easier,” Messenger boss David Marcus said in an emailed statement. “We’ve seen that in the US most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time.”
It’s rolling out in “the coming weeks,” so it won’t be available to all users straight away.
The service was launched in the US in 2015. The social network says it has been widely used to split restaurant bills, pay babysitters and simply send gifts. It says most users send less than $50 (£38).
The company says the service is coming to the UK because it has so many “mobile-savvy consumers”.
Facebook is collaborating with all the major banks and credit card firms to launch Messenger payments, which will require both the sender and recipient of money to register their payment cards.
Facebook is also introducing something called M suggestions, a virtual assistant that recognises when you are talking about payments. It will suggest the new service as a quick and easy solution. We’ll see how users enjoy being nudged in this manner.
The move puts Facebook in competition with payment companies like Paypal, as well as — to an extent — the British app-only bank Monzo, which has become known for its simple peer-to-peer payments.