Facebook PaySource: Facebook

What you need to know

  • Facebook has announced the launch of a new payment service called Facebook Pay.
  • It will work with the company's suite of apps — Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
  • The initiative does not rely on the Calibra wallet or the Libra cryptocurrency.

Facebook's plans for becoming a big player in personal finance aren't going away anytime soon, despite the numerous setbacks it has faced in launching its cryptocurrency. While its crypto ambitions develop — or maybe wither away with time — the tech giant is forging ahead with the launch of a more traditional payment service, unimaginatively titled Facebook Pay.

It will eventually allow you to make payments across the company's four major platforms — Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp — but is limited to just Facebook and Messenger at the time. You'll need to go to the Facebook Pay section of either app's settings page in order to enable the payment service. It's also restricted to just the U.S. at launch, though the company is promising a wider rollout in the future.

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Donations on Facebook PaySource: Facebook

You can use Facebook Pay to send money to friends, make donations, buy event tickets, or purchase goods and services on the Facebook Marketplace, though this will initially be restricted to only a select few stores and pages.

In its announcement for the service, Facebook made two crucial qualifications. The first is that the payment platform will be entirely distinct from the Libra network, and the second is that payments will be enabled on an app-by-app basis, meaning that if you use Facebook Pay on via WhatsApp, the company will not automatically allow payments on Instagram unless you explicitly tell it to do so.

Concerning security, the company will be using a combination of encryption, activity alerts, and biometric authentication to ensure your money stays where it belongs. The company's Deborah Liu said the following on the matter:

"We designed Facebook Pay to securely store and encrypt your card and bank account numbers, perform anti-fraud monitoring on our systems to detect unauthorized activity and provide notifications for account activity. You can also add a PIN or use your device biometrics, such as touch or face ID recognition, for an extra layer of security when sending money or making a payment."

You'll be able to pay using your choice of major debit and credit cards, and also your PayPal balance. Notably, PayPal is supporting this payments venture from the social media giant, despite being the first to pull out of the Libra Association early last month, leading to an avalanche effect that has left the Libra Association without a single major payment processor in the U.S.

Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency will launch in the first half of 2020