Facebook Unveils a Payments Feature in Messenger: Look Out, Square

I’ve been a huge Square Cash fan since its launch, and I’m responsible for signing up several friends, plus my landlord. It’s a great product — there isn’t a lot of friction in the sign-up process, and it’s super easy to use. Unfortunately, Square Cash isn’t advertised well.

The new payments feature Facebook just unveiled? People are going to know about this.

facebook-iconI think it’s probably going to kill Square Cash.

The feature, which is integrated to Facebook’s Messenger app, uses debit cards, just like Square Cash. I like this; most people carry their debit cards, but not everyone carries their checkbook. This makes registration fast. It’s an easier sell to friends. Going the debit card route is something both the Facebook payments feature and Square Cash did right.

I use Facebook Messenger a lot more than I use Square Cash. This is Square’s problem. The only issue I can see for Facebook’s product would be if I wanted to send cash to someone I’m not connected with — otherwise, why use an extra app when I don’t have to?

And you know Facebook is going to promote this more heavily as it rolls out everywhere. And Facebook’s network is huge, so the word of the mouth spread should be significantly larger for Messenger payments than Square’s seen with Cash.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how Square reacts to Facebook’s entry (which is a pretty similar product). Square hasn’t kept many of its more adventurous products around for long (this was a fear I had when I discovered I liked Cash), so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Square would shutter Cash should Facebook’s solution become more popular.

Have you had a chance to use Facebook’s payments feature yet? Let us know what you think of it.

About the author

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over eight years. He covers consumer electronics, Web companies, and gaming.


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