Facebook Messenger Gains Friend-To-Friend Mobile Payments Service

Have you ever tried collecting money owed from a friend or family member? Sometimes it's painless, and other times it's like pulling teeth from a penguin -- impossible, in other words. Facebook has found a way to make it rather easy. No, it won't send cousin Vinny to collect the debt, but it does allow you to send and receive money through Messenger for free.

Let's say you and a buddy are chatting about the Red Sox, and through the course of the discussion, you both decide to catch the game versus the Orioles on April 17th. You look it up and discover tickets will run $100 each. Your buddy gives a thumbs up, so you purchase the tickets. Rather than coordinating schedules to meet up and collect the Benny he owes you, he can send you money through Messenger right at that very moment.

Messenger Payment

It's a simple process -- if you're sending money, just tap the dollar sign ($) and enter the amount you want to send. Look it over and hit Pay in the top right, then add your debit card information to send the funds. And to receive money, open the conversation from your friend, tap Add Card in the message, and add your debit card to accept money.

You only need to add a debit card once. After the first time you send or receive funds, you can create a PIN for future transfers, and/or use Touch ID on supported iOS devices.

Fund are transferred immediately, though depending on your bank it could take one to three business days before they're available, just as it does with other deposits.

As for security, Facebook processes the payments, a practice it says it's been doing for game players and advertisers since 2007, with more than one million transactions daily on the site. The company claims it uses layers of software and hardware protection, while also employing a team of anti-fraud specialists to monitor for suspicious activity.

You'll be able to use the new payments feature in the coming months in U.S. on Android, iOS, and the desktop.