Facebook Brings Its Mobile Payments Platform to the UK

November 9, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Facebook Messenger as a mobile payment system hasn’t exactly made a huge splash outside of Facebook, but a new report suggests that may be about to change. One of the things that may be holding Facebook back on this front is its lack of wide-scale availability, and now, users in the United Kingdom will be able to get in on the action in the next few weeks.

That’s the word from Facebook Messenger’s top dog David Marcus, who noted that most people in the US tend to use Messenger for cash payments under $50. It’s geared mainly for celebrations and social or festive occasions, and with Facebook Messenger, it becomes that much easier to commemorate said occasions with a small cash bump.

Such a simple point is actually hotly contested in the US, with firms ranging from Square to PayPal going for the peer-to-peer (P2P) payments market. In the UK, however, it’s something of a different story as there’s less going on in P2P and similar small-scale payments.

We all know that mobile payments are a pretty big deal in the UK, though a lot of that seems to be focused mainly on the business-to-consumer (B2C) market. A small-scale alternative that’s geared toward sending small amounts directly between users could be a pretty big deal over there.

They likely have much the same uses for P2P as we do; settling bets, settling bar tabs among friends at the end of a night, so on and so forth. While some might not exactly be comfortable with handing over financial details to Facebook—especially considering its stances on personal information previously—it’s a safe bet that Facebook would have to work extra hard in protecting that information; it’s one thing to lose names and addresses, but getting hit for banking data comes under much stronger regulations and any loss there would be met with the fury of the end user.

If Facebook Messenger can get a first-mover advantage in that region for P2P, it may be able to cement a foothold. If other P2P payment systems aren’t eyeballing global expansion, they may be behind the eight-ball going forward.