Facebook has recently confirmed that it is testing to launch a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payment method which utilizes a QR code. This new feature, following the footsteps of Venmo and WeChat, will be available to U.S. users and operate within the current Facebook Pay system.
Facebook has been trying to modify and enhance P2P transactions for a while now, first launching its Facebook Pay service in 2019 as a way to establish a payment system across Facebook-owned apps. It is mainly used to exchange commerce in Facebook Marketplace, buy on Instagram, initiate live event ticket sales, and raise money via its birthday donation program. There is also a method for sending money through the Messenger app, between friends.
Some feel this new QR-code scanner may be too little, too late in terms of becoming a dominating payment platform in the current market. "The development of the mobile payment market in the U.S. is relatively slow. PayPal and Apple Pay have large shares of the market, so the market share of Facebook, a latecomer, will be limited," Tang Dajie, a Research Fellow at Wuhan University, told the Global Times.
Though it seems like Facebook will not have as large of a place in the P2P payment sector as giants like PayPal or Apple Pay, the addition of the QR scan option will add to the ease-of-access and versatility of the company’s existing software. The vast span of Facebook’s influence alone will give it at least a small place for success, as 2.8 billion monthly users is not a demographic to scoff at. Also, integrating PayPal into its existing payment platform suggests that it’s less about competition, and more about expansion.
The company has also chosen to exclude their cryptocurrency functions in this new software, at least in the starting phases of its launch. While the company has yet to announce a definite release date, as time progresses, many will likely see a scan button popping up as an option when they exchange money on Facebook.