Is Facebook the future of peer-to-peer payments in Australia?

Australians could soon be using Facebook Messenger for more than just talking, with the social media giant likely to introduce its group payment system into Australia which would allow friends to transfer funds via group messages for anything from cafe bills to travel expenses.   

According to the Australian Financial Review, Facebook was granted a patent in May which will enable it to launch its peer-to-peer payment service in Australia having already released the feature in the United States in April this year.

The new payment feature comes on the back of Facebook’s existing payment system which allows individuals to transfer money to each other over the messenger app with a stored debit card. 

However, the new feature will let users request and send payments to friends in a group chat. For example, say you’ve gone out to a restaurant for dinner with five friends and have a bill of $100 - with the new feature you’d be able to request $20 from each of your friends via the messenger app with alerts when each payment has been received. 

A move by Facebook into the Australian market could potentially spell bad news for existing peer-to-peer payment companies including Paypal and the soon-to-be-launched NPP (New Payments Platform) which has received over $1 billion in funding from Australia's big banks. 

According to the data from the report ‘Digital in 2017’, Australia has the highest portion of active daily Facebook users in the world at 75% - a huge potential user base which would likely compete directly with the NPP and other existing payment systems offered by Australian banks. 

Australians interested in using the service may still have a bit of a wait ahead of them though, with the Australian Financial Review suggesting that Facebook is prioritising a European launch of the payment feature first.  

Do you frequently make transfers to your own friends and family? With the launch of the Facebook payment system still awhile away yet, don’t hesitate in finding a bank with a top-rated app to make transfers a breeze.