Facebook has announced the expansion of its payment feature on Messenger to group payments. The payment option was first introduced two years ago, but it was limited only to two people. Now, users will be able to send or request money from groups of people to split the cost of a restaurant bill, concert ticket or a gift.
To transfer money, you’ll just need to go to a new Messenger group conversation, tap on the plus sign in the bottom left side of the group conversation and click on the payments icon. Then, you need to select a person or a group of members to send or receive money from.
After that, insert the amount of money you want to send or the sum to divide between members, either including yourself in that calculation or not. You can also specify what the money is for, like a pizza party or a gift, and tap the Request button. When someone has paid, a notification immediately appears in the group conversation, what makes it simple to coordinate group payments.
The service is totally free and is limited only to Android and desktop users. Besides, it is available only in the US at the moment.
With the new feature, Facebook Messenger will become a competitor to existing in-app payment services like Snapchat, PayPal-owned Venmo, WeChat, and Square Cash. With more than one billion active users worldwide, the app has the chance to become the largest peer-to-peer payments tool.
Last week, Facebook Messenger rolled out its digital assistant that will suggest helpful actions for users in chat windows. Called M, the artificial intelligence assistant will help you to manage conversations by recommending relevant actions.
The service learns habits of users and personalizes itself for them. M recognizes intent in a chat, which lets it to perform different tasks. M Suggestions include location sharing, payments, stickers, timed reminders, and ridesharing services from Lyft and Uber. If you don’t want to receive suggestions, you can dismiss it or mute recommendations in the Messenger settings.
The feature was first tested last year by a limited number of users. Currently, it is targeted at internal app features, but the integration of Uber and Lyft means the company will later collaborate with other brands and businesses.
M Suggestions is now available to iOS and Android platforms users in the US, while the launch to more countries is planned in the near future.