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Facebook Messenger just made it easier to send friends money. The app now allows users to exchange money within group messages. The feature is live now on desktop and Messenger’s Android app and will roll out to iOS soon.
Though Messenger has allowed payments since 2015, the feature has existed only in one-to-one conversations, not group messages. That may not seem like a huge change, but it’s a significant one as it makes Messenger payments more social and thus more competitive with Venmo. As with the the one-on-one payments, you can pay friends in a group chat by linking your debit card to Messenger. You can then manually select which friends in a group you want to pay or request money from.
Everyone in the chat will be able to see who has paid and been paid, so the new feature could also be yet another way to shame friends into giving you the money they owe.
Though Venmo is widely viewed as the social payments app of choice, adding group payments to Messenger could lure some users away from the PayPal-owned service. Facebook product manager Partha Sundaram notes Messenger’s payments are free to use and don’t require many additional steps to set up. It is to be mentioned that sending money within Messenger does require entering a pin (though you don’t need to enter one to request money), so you don’t need to worry about payments being sent without your knowledge should your phone fall into the wrong hands. Group payments are available now to Messenger users in the U.S.