Another piece of the Facebook puzzle has taken shape today as Facebook has launched a Payments feature within Facebook Messenger. Just tap the omnipresent Dollar Sign within the chat window to get options for transferring money to friends for uses as diverse as giving them money to buy movie tickets or to pay for lunch. This has probably been in the works for a long time as Facebook has reportedly been investigating the possibility of creating a money transfer service for a considerable length of time now. Facebook has taken a lot of heat for their Facebook Messenger App as many people didn't like the messaging functionality being split away from the main Facebook App. However, easily building in a free Friend-To-Friend payments feature within Messenger slightly softens that blow and makes it instantly more valuable to a lot of people.
Given the free nature of the service and the reach of Facebook, it instantly could become a big competitor to PayPal owned Venmo and might replace some conceivable uses of digital currencies such as BitCoin. Many industry observers think that Facebook doesn't directly need to make money through this initiative, it's just a good way to assure platform lock-in and ensure that people always have a need to keep their Facebook account active. Many of Facebook's recent feature creations are designed to maximize the amount of time and usefulness that people see in Facebook, and given increased competition from SnapChat and other social apps, this is a wise course for them. If this is a success and most people eventually add their credit card numbers on file with Facebook, would Facebook consider emphasizing some sort of social shopping system as the next phase of their monetization strategy? It remains to be seen, but this is definitely worth keeping two eyes on.>