A developer has found evidence that Facebook is looking tocompete against person-to-person payments companies like Venmo and Square cash,PC World reports.
Stanford student and iOS developerAndrew Aude discovered lines of code in the Messenger app that appear to be atest of payment transfers between friends. Aude tweeted screenshots of hisfind, a result of using the app developer tool Cycript, over the weekend. Audetold Gizmodothat the test he saw requires a debit card—no bank accounts or credit cardtransfers allowed, at least not right now.
Nothing has been confirmed and Facebook has not commented onthe discovery, so it is too soon to tell whether the test is a meaningful steptowards a new service or if it will just disappear into a development dustbin.If it does move forward, then its success and competitive position will largelydepend on how Facebook users react.
Facebook’s primary advantage is that it starts with a largemembership base and could market the service broadly and intensely. Thedisadvantages are that Facebook has a reputation for having privacy issuers,doing things with users’ data that they don’t appreciate, and changing thingswithout much user notice and no user consent. These issues might put people offof trusting Facebook with payments data. A confounding factor is that manyusers view Facebook as a place to socialize rather than shop. That may work inFacebook’s favor because person-to-person transfers are an extension of socialactivity, or it may work against the service because people do not associateFacebook with financial matters.
Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service
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