SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook‘s instant messaging known as Messenger now allows you to send money instantly to your friends also known as known as peer-to-peer payments.

Facebook, the social networking company, announced that users of its Messenger app would be able to link their debit cards to the service and use it to message money to one another just as easily as they send a snapshot or text.

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To send money:

1.Start a message with a friend
2 Tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send
3.Tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money

To receive money:

1. Open the conversation you had with friend
2. Tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time

Facebook wanted to keep the payment and the conversation in one message thread that would also serve as a record. 

The whole conversation will be saved for later reference.

To reduce the risk of unauthorised transactions, Facebook said users must enter a PIN or use Apple’s fingerprint identification system before they can send the money.

By using debit cards to handle the transfer, the money can move fairly quickly between the two bank accounts while allowing Facebook to offer the service free to users. 

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The company’s Messenger app is one of the largest platforms in the world, with more than 500 million monthly users. And last year, Facebook spent nearly $22 billion to buy WhatsApp, a separate messaging platform that now counts more than 700 million active users globally.

Initially, the service will be limited to sending money between people who are Facebook friends, so it will not immediately compete with Apple Pay and other mobile payment services meant to allow people to make purchases easily with their phones.