Facebook users around the world can now access a new money transfer system built directly into their messenger app. The social media giant has been eyeing up the digital payments space for years, and now an integration with TransferWise is making it a reality.
The new process relies on a custom-built chatbot that enables messenger users to send cash nearly anywhere in the world directly through Facebook’s chat app. The chatbot provides a range of functions and is capable of wiring money to family and friends, conducting online purchases (available in Britain, Canada, the United States and Australia for now), and carrying out forex transactions.
Last year Facebook introduced support for domestic money transfers within the U.S., but this new functionality marks the first-time users can access international transfers from within Messenger.
Over a billion people are currently using the Messenger app and this number is increasing as internet and smartphone penetration grows. This means an accessible and convenient platform is already in place for a massive portion of the global population. This alone would attract many businesses to use messenger, but surprisingly it is also a very versatile platform with many companies praising its potential to reshape online commerce.
How Does It All Work?
The system uses a chatbot built directly into Facebook messenger, meaning all users need to do is start a conversation in Messenger with the TransferWise Bot. Next, you’ll be prompted to log in or sign up for a TransferWise account, then the bot asks for the currency you’d like to use and the desired recipient.
Interestingly Facebook isn’t making any revenue from the service and is instead more focused on the users this service brings to their messenger platform. For Facebook, it’s all about increasing engagement, the more points of contact with its users the better.
Cracking the Habit of Traditional Money Transfer
Well, there’s no doubt that this technology has huge potential to disrupt the global money transfer industry, some experts are skeptical. John Davis, VP of the financial firm Stifel, believes that these types of transfers will remain a bit of novelty in the short term.
“In the early days, I think the user base probably will likely come from people looking to make a spontaneous transfer; think of a person who wants to repay someone or perhaps send a friend a birthday gift”, Davis said.
He went on to say that people are creatures of habit. If you’ve been transferring money using a service for years and you’re comfortable with it, it’s going to take a lot to make you change to something new.
Would you make a money transfer through Facebook? What would it take to make you move away from traditional money transfers? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest trends.