Facebook Pay is the company’s own digital payment system, which Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said will make it “as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo”.
The payments system will allow users to send money to friends, shop for goods online, or to donate to fundraisers.
“Over time, we plan to bring Facebook Pay to more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp,” says Deborah Liu, Facebook’s vice president of marketplace and commerce.
This project is separate from the social media firm’s Libra cryptocurrency, which has encountered a number of regulatory challenges recently and seen major partners withdraw. The new digital payment system is “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships,” the company said.
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The launch announcement comes at the same time as the company revealed its plans to bring Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp under the one umbrella. Facebook said its new digital payment system would “be a seamless and secure way to make payments on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp”.
Whether or not Facebook Pay will be successful will depend on if it is adopted for offline transactions as well as shopping online on Facebook’s marketplace. In this respect, Facebook is trying to replicate the success of Chinese instant messaging app WeChat’s mobile payment system.
WeChat Pay is a popular cashless payment system in China, which is often used offline in stores as well as online. Its widespread use has made the company one of the most dominant tech firms in the country.
“Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps,” says Liu. “We’ll continue to develop Facebook Pay and look for ways to make it even more valuable for people on our apps.”