Leaked Facebook Messenger Functionality Could Spell Competition for PayPal

Facebook got approval to purchase WhatsApp, the popular global messaging app, for $19 billion this morning.  But what could that mean for us?  Apparently, it could mean a competitor for PayPal and our money-sending-dollar using the PayPal app.  For a fun fact, the ex-president of PayPal, David Marcus,  now works as the head of Facebook Messenger.

Now, how could Facebook, a social media site, and its Messenger app, now a separate application entirely, get to the point of competing with the already well-established PayPal money sending service?  With something from a couple of secret screenshots and a video of a possible next step for Mark Zuckerberg's brainchild.

Zuckerberg had said that payments might be coming to work hand-in-hand with Facebook, and something we heard about was the possible ability to buy things straight from the news feed on the main page of Facebook's app.  We also have reason to believe, as of now, that Facebook Messenger may focus on the exact thing it's great for: peer-to-peer action.  Facebook's news feed section is personalized based on what you like, follow, or whatever else, so it is tailored to your interests, just like the advertisements in the sidebars (on the desktop site) and within the news feed itself on mobile.  So who's to say that you shouldn't be able to buy the thing it's advertising right there, right then?  Facebook might let you soon enough.

But consider another thing.  If you have PayPal, you can send money to most people with either PayPal or email.  With Facebook, you can talk to people that have Facebook.  If you have WhatsApp, you can talk to people that (in some cases at least) are unable to have Facebook.  The overlap between WhatsApp and Facebook users is likely small, whereas the total coverage is a massive sum of people online.  Now, if you could link your WhatsApp account with a Facebook profile, like many did with Instagram and Facebook when the latter bought the former, wouldn't that create a nifty bridged connection so you could use WhatsApp to send things to and through Facebook, or link conversations through there anyway.  This is all hypothetical 'what if this, what if that' talk, but it could very well happen.

If you are able to link those people, the Facebookers and the WhatsAppers, and offer a service that many people that spread far from home sometimes do so to explicitly do (i.e. send money home to help their family/ies), what would you have?  You would technically have a larger userbase than PayPal (if my assumptions are correct with the number of Facebook and WhatsApp users versus PayPal users), and that would help Facebook rake in the big bucks.  But that's all hypothetical, and we only have the screenshots and video to go on, but they seem both real and next-step-esque for Facebook.  Would you ever consider giving Facebook your credit or debit card or bank information, even if it was just to send money back to home?  Or to a friend in need maybe?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.
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