WhatsApp could soon be a platform for sending money as well as messages.
On Monday, WhatsApp began rolling out payments in Brazil, the first country in what is expected to be a wider roll-out of the feature.
WhatsApp payments work using Facebook Pay, the company’s existing platform for sending money online. Facebook Pay allows users of the social media apps to save their credit or debit card information, encrypting the information to use for in-app transactions, such as sending money to a friend or donating to a non-profit.
Facebook Pay is already live on Facebook and Messenger in the U.S., but the rollout in Brazil is the first time the feature has spread to the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp. Users can send payments, as well as request a payment. Along with sending money to friends inside WhatsApp, the feature also allows small businesses to conduct sales within the app.
“Today, we’re starting to launch payments for people using WhatsApp in Brazil,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday morning. “We’re making sending and receiving money as easy as sharing photos.”
Zuckerberg says that Brazil is the first to receive the feature, but that there’s “more to come soon.” The company worked with banks in Brazil to get the feature up and running.
Facebook Pay debuted last year amid controversy over Libra, the social network’s proposed cryptocurrency, and already allows users in the U.S. to send money in Messenger and Facebook. At the time, Facebook said the feature would eventually also roll out to both WhatsApp and Instagram.
With Facebook’s ongoing scrutiny over privacy, users may be hesitant to trust the network with banking information. The company says that Facebook Pay encrypts account numbers and regularly performs anti-fraud monitoring. Users can also set a PIN or, on compatible devices, use touch or face ID, which is not stored on Facebook itself. Facebook Pay also sends users notifications for account activity.
Users can set up Facebook Pay in the settings on both Facebook and Messenger. The company hasn’t yet said when WhatsApp payments will roll out beyond the initial launch in Brazil.
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