There is already quite the war going on amongst messaging apps on mobile, with Facebook, WhatsApp and Google amongst the players trying to become the way we communicate via text. If SMS is going to die, they are the ones who want to take over.
Right now, Facebook Messenger is in the middle of a user backlash after it was unbundled from the Facebook app proper. It seems that isn’t going to stop Facebook from throwing new features at the app though, but the latest to leak out may not be what you would expect because while Apple is working to bring mobile payments to the iPhone, Facebook is doing the same via its Messenger app.
The news comes after Stanford computer science student Andrew Aude discovered the new, unannounced payment feature via the jailbreak tool Cycript. To drive home the discovery he took multiple screenshots as well as a short video to show off what he’d found and it certainly looks like Facebook is joining the mobile payment market as tainted by CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s Q2 earning call.
Speaking on the call, Zuck went so far as to hunt that Facebook Messenger would be the home of the firm’s new payment system, saying that “over time there will be some overlap between [Messenger] and payments… The payments piece will be a part of what will help drive the overall success and help people share with each other and interact with businesses.”
From what we have seen of the screenshots and video, Facebook’s mobile payment system will work as you might expect, with multiple payment sources able to be added, though PayPal may or may not be on the list of supported options. Given the face Facebook hired PayPal’s former president David Marcus, we expect support to come at some point.
Mobile payments are sure to be big over the coming months, not least because Apple is entering the arena with Apple Pay. We don’t know when Facebook will be launching its own competitor to Apple Pay, but if it’s already built into Messenger, we may not have to wait too long to try it out.