Although Facebook Messenger’s entry into personal finance isn’t new, I’ve never quite managed to think about it as a payments platform. It’s more an inbox that aunts, uncles, and friends from high school blow up with messages when I haven’t posted on Facebook in a while. But it’s now becoming more and more clear that Messenger will gladly handle my money if I let it.
The Facebook Messenger team provided a sneak peek of its new “Split Payments” feature in a news announcement on Friday. It’s basically a way to organise and pay joint expenses you have with friends, roommates, coworkers, or anyone you’re splitting bills with. Similar to apps like Splitwise, Split Payments allows you to create a shared expense, split the bill evenly, or modify the contribution that corresponds to each person. You also have the option to include or exclude yourself from the expense.
Once all the information is in the app, you can send out a request to the people who need to pay you in Messenger, receive the payment through Facebook Pay (the company’s version of Venmo), and transfer it to your bank account.
“If you’ve struggled with dividing up (and getting paid back for) group dinners, shared household expenses or even the monthly rent, it’s about to get easier,” the Facebook Messenger team said in the news announcement.
The company did not provide many details on Split Payments. From the promotional image provided, it appears that it’s designed to be used in Messenger group chats. Person-to-person payments are already possible through Facebook Pay on Messenger, but it’s not clear if Split Payment features, such as splitting the bill equally, will be available in these instances.
Not going to lie, Facebook’s, or should I say, Meta’s, track record on privacy, data mining, and, well, everything else doesn’t exactly inspire me to give Messenger my credit card info. Plus, as I mentioned before, Messenger just isn’t positioned that way in my brain. Sure, it’s super obvious it wants me to trust it with my money, but I have other apps for that. Safer ones with multi-factor authentication and great customer service.
Messenger will begin to test Split Payments next week for users in the U.S. The feature will be offered free of charge. No information was provided on when the feature will roll out for everyone in the U.S. or whether it’ll roll out internationally.