How to Send and Receive Money With Facebook Messenger
You can do much more than chat through Facebook Messenger—including sending payments to friends and requesting funds from anybody who owes you money. If you spend a lot of time in Messenger, it may be a convenient option for sending and receiving money online.
One advantage of using Facebook Messenger to send and receive payments is that you can easily split the cost of something with a number of people. For example, if a group discussion led up to an event, you can choose to split a payment between members of that discussion.
You can use Facebook Messenger on your desktop or make in-app payments from a mobile device. Payments are free whether you send or receive them. Before using the service for payments, you may want to become familiar with the basic requirements:
How to Make a Payment
Sending money with Facebook is about as easy as sending a private message.
Via the Messenger app or the Facebook website: Start a conversation with the friend(s) that you want to pay. Tap or click on the "$" icon, and enter the amount you want to send. Hit "Next," and the money is on its way. If you don’t see that icon, then you should contact Facebook Support.
Your first payment: To use Messenger payments the first time, you need to provide funding information. It’s easiest to submit this information as you go through the process of making a payment. But you can also add or change funding methods by updating your payment settings.
Enter your debit card number or PayPal account login and any other required information. If you're using a phone, you also have the opportunity to set up a personal identification number (PIN) during this step. This helps prevent unauthorized payments. Choose a code that is hard to guess and that nobody else knows.
Because Messenger uses your debit card, money will come out of your checking account almost immediately.
How to Receive a Payment
If somebody sends you money through Messenger, you'll get a notification. If your debit card or PayPal account are already linked, then Messenger will send the money to your account right away.
If you don't already have debit card information on file, you need to provide card details to accept the payment. Once that's done, funds will go to the checking account linked to your debit card.
Facebook does not hold onto the money, but your bank might take several days to show the payment in your account.
If you need the funds to be available for spending immediately, Zelle might work as an alternative to Messenger payments. You might already have Zelle set up through your bank, and payments clear quickly when both banks work with Zelle.
Are Facebook Messenger Payments Safe?
Fraud: You can’t cancel Messenger payments, although recipients can voluntarily reject them if you make a mistake. Plus, the money comes out of your account immediately. Facebook does not advertise any type of consumer protection, and you are not supposed to use Messenger for business payments—including buying on eBay or Craigslist.
Con artists may take advantage of confusion on this issue, as they have with Venmo, Zelle, and similar services.
Account security: To protect yourself, establish a PIN for Messenger payments (or Touch ID, if available on your device). You have the option to opt out of that additional step, but why take the chance? Again, this feature is only available when using the Messenger app on mobile devices.
Data security: Payments through Messenger are about as safe as any other app or online service. Facebook hired David Marcus in June of 2014, the former head of PayPal, in preparation for Messenger payments (so you would expect industry-standard security).
Facebook claims that all payment information is encrypted, including your card number and details about your transaction. Facebook stores that data "separate from other parts of the Facebook network," and the company dedicates additional resources to watch for fraud.
Privacy: Privacy cannot be ignored. If everything is already on Facebook and you’re not concerned about that, a bit of your financial information might not matter. But data can be mined and analyzed in surprising ways, so be mindful of how you send and receive money. When you make a payment in Messenger, your name, profile photo and payment amount are shared with your friend. In group payment situations, all members of the group can see payment amounts—so pay one-to-one if that matters.
Facebook Help Center. "Payments in Messenger." Accessed Jan. 9, 2020.
Facebook Help Center. "How Do I Send or Receive Money in Facebook Messages?" Accessed Jan. 9, 2020.
Facebook Help Center. "How Do I Manage My PIN." Accessed Jan. 9, 2020.
Zelle Frequently Asked Questions. "How Long Does It Take to Receive Money With Zelle?" Accessed Jan. 9, 2020.
Facebook Newsroom. "David Marcus Joins Facebook as VP, Messaging Products." Accessed Jan. 9, 2020.