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Are payment features lurking within Facebook Messenger code?

Facebook may be looking to get into the digital wallet game, according to source code discovered in the latest version of Facebook’s Messenger app.

The Information reported it examined code in the current iOS version of Messenger that revealed commands such as "pay in person" and "pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item." Facebook has thus far declined to comment, making it presently unclear whether the features will ever actually see the light of day.

A past in payments
The idea of Facebook Messenger doubling as a digital wallet may not be so surprising, considering the person running Messenger, David Marcus, served as PayPal’s president before Facebook poached him in June 2014.

And it wouldn’t be the first time Facebook has dabbled in payments. They previously took tentative steps into payments back in June 2015, when Facebook Messenger rolled out its person-to-person payments service to U.S. users. At the time, debit cards were the only form of payment available through Facebook Messenger since credit card payments would involve processing fees.

Obstacles to overcome
Facebook would face a list of other substantial obstacles if it choose to pursue mobile payments in earnest. For example, it would need cooperation from financial institutions to create the appropriate infrastructure that can handle these transactions. When Apple Pay first launched it worked with banks to incorporate security standards. Tim Sloane of n>genuity wrote that Apple set the bar so high with their implementation of Apple Pay that it creates challenges in “gathering support and endorsement across the payments value chain.”

Even if Facebook moved forward with more payment features, it may take some time before such features were available. It took a little over a year for Discover Financial, one of the largest credit card issuers in the country, to sign onboard with Apple Pay.

Other features uncovered
But Facebook Messenger may want to be more than a messaging app and mobile wallet. The Information also reported that the service’s source code includes language around being able to sync calendars to Facebook Messenger and share parts of articles through the app.

Tags: payments, Facebook

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