Presently on Messenger, Facebook's messaging platform, users can send or receive payments, but such a feature is frustratingly limited to person-to-person transactions. Facebook is changing that dynamic so more people can be involved.
Person-to-person payments became a thing way back in 2015, but Facebook announced on Tuesday, April 11 — more than two years later — that groups will also now be able to use the feature as well, with participants able to send or receive money to and from a particular user within a group.
How Group Payments In Messenger Work
To request or send payments, tap the "+" icon on the bottom-left side of the group conversation, where other features such as ride requests, minigames, and location sharing are tucked away. It features a brand-new user interface that came with the recent arrival of M, Facebook's assistant that's baked into Messenger. Click the green icon with the "$" and you'll be able to access the group payments feature.
After tapping the icon, simply choose the person you want to request money from or send money to. Users can select everyone in a group or handpick specific individuals. For instances like splitting the bill, users can input the total sum and it will be divided evenly among the members. Finally, users can specify what the payments are for: whether they're potluck contributions or a restaurant bill. In fact, Facebook says that payments are designed exactly for such situations, as users often turn to services such as Paypal, Venmo, or Square Cash to split payments.
"It's free, simple, fast and secure. Whether you're splitting a restaurant bill or chipping in for a group gift, all you need to do is go to a new or existing Messenger group conversation to get started," wrote Partha Sundaram, a Product Manager for Consumer Payments at Facebook.
Inside the message thread, a notification will appear indicating if a group member has made a payment, or which group members haven't. This helps everyone keep track of all the assigned payments.
The feature is free and won't require a password, Facebook says, adding that users' debit card information is safe and secure.
Payments is one area Facebook hasn't focused on much over the past few years since its unveiling, even though the concept of collecting and storing payment data could be useful for its other fronts such as ecommerce or gaming. Facebook, however, hasn't declared any significant ambitions for the service, having said in the past that it doesn't intend to build an entire payments-related empire. The goal was to simply make Messenger more useful and, by extension, more competitive against rival messaging platforms.
Thoughts about Facebook now supporting group payments on Messenger? Would you find this useful? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!