Facebook has introduced a new version of its Messenger platform that will include some new features, including direct payments via the app. The announcement was made by Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San-Francisco.
The first news about the potential integration of the payment service by Facebook appeared in 2014 when a Stanford University student, Audrew Aude, said he discovered a payment functionality that was hidden inside the app.
Facebook, Marcus noted, will integrate payments into messages, thus making it easier for businesses to trade their products via Messenger. Customers will be able to make purchases directly through the app without being directed to the external website.
“Payments can now be integrated into messages, making it easy for customers to shop and purchase without leaving the app,” Marcus said in a blog post. “Messages with payments utilize industry-leading controls and financial information is protected with bank-level encryption.”
The platform will support most credit cards and payment systems, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, Stripe and Braintree.
To make a purchase, users have just to tap the “Buy Now” link which appears in the chat. The system uses financial data stored in the customers’ Messenger apps. Marcus has also informed during the conference that Facebook developers built over 30,000 bots for the messaging platform and many are currently working on applications.
The new option will enable Facebook to monetize Messenger, which is utilized by more than a billion users. In comparison, last year the company accounted for 700 million users.
The feature is available in beta version for certain developers only, also more developers can apply to participate in the test run. The wider roll out is scheduled for the end of the year.
Besides, the company will integrate ads in News Feed thus urging people to chat with advertisers’ bots on the app. “To further enable businesses to target discovery of experiences on the Messenger Platform, we are starting to roll out ads in News Feed that drive people to chat with your bot on Messenger,” Marcus wrote.
“Advertisers will now be able to select Messenger as a destination under the website clicks objective and use any call-to-action in their ad, including “Send Message”, to link to Messenger.” Also, the option will allow developers and businesses to choose their target audiences and delivery times.
In general, the competition among the mobile payment providers is showing a fast pace growth. The volume of mobile transactions is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2019.
A few days ago, IT giant Apple announced the integration of Circle Pay into its iMessage feature. Like Facebook Messenger, iMessage will enable users to pay directly within the app.