Facebook Messenger has launched a new feature for UK users.

The feature, peer-to-peer payments, has been available to Messenger users in the US since 2015. It essentially allows you to send and receive money from Facebook friends - all via Messenger, and without having to exit a conversation thread. Here's how it works.

What is Facebook Messenger payments?

Have you ever gone somewhere with a friend and been in the position of forgetting your wallet, leaving your friend to pay for your coffee, drink, meal, or whatever? Or maybe you've taken a cab with a friend and had to split the fare with cash. There are an endless number of situations you might find yourself in, where you need to quickly send money to a friend, or maybe even receive money from said friend.

You could use a peer-to-peer payments service to send that friend money, which is handy if you never have cash on you. In the US, popular services include Venmo, Square Cash, and Facebook Messenger. Yes, that's right, Messenger is a convenient and secure way to send and receive money, and now, it's come to the UK. Messenger has also added a falling animation of £££s for some fun, Facebook said.

This is the first time Messenger has extended payments since launching in the US. David Marcus, head of Messenger, said that, in the US, most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time. It'll be interesting to see if the same happens in the UK.

How does Facebook Messenger payments work?

The Messenger payments system is simple to figure out. In a chat with a friend, press the blue + icon and select the payments option. On the first payment, you will need to enter your bank information (Visa and Mastercard are supported) and the amount to be paid (the largest payment can be up to £2,500, though there's a rolling 30-day limit of £10,000). The money is then transferred in up to three business days.

To send money:

  1. Start a message with a friend
  2. Tap the blue + icon and then tap the green Payments icon
  3. Set up your payment account (only the first time)
  4. Enter the amount you want to send
  5. Tap Pay and then add your debit card
  6. Watch the amount of money you sent rain down on the screen

To receive money:

  1. Open the conversation from your friend
  2. Tap Add Card in the message
  3. Add your debit card and setup your account to accept money for the first time
  4. The money sent is transferred right away (it may take one to three business days)

Note: If the friend hasn't set the system up, they'll be asked to enter their card details to get the payment.

Is Facebook Messenger payments free?

Yes. Facebook said it does not charge people to transfer money and does not directly handle the money itself.

Is Facebook Messenger payments secure?

Facebook said the system is encrypted. Also, a pin can be enabled to allow money to be sent.

When will Facebook Messenger payments be available?

It's already available in the US. It will roll out in the UK over the coming weeks.

Anything else you should know?

To make it even easier to send and receive money, Facebook is also rolling out M suggestions for payments. M is Messenger's assistant, which you can read all about from here. It will recognise when you and a friend are discussing payments and gives an option to send money in those instances. For more information on how Facebook Messenger payments work, check out Facebook's help center here.

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