You Can Now Use PayPal in Facebook Messenger

Photo credit: Kārlis Dambrāns, CC BY 2.0.

Humans are natural procrastinators, and for many of us, the act of pausing an online conversation to go open another app—let’s say an app that allows us to send money to the friend with whom we’re conversing—has just enough friction to make us say too much work, I’ll do it later. 

Which is why you can now make PayPal payments through Facebook Messenger.

As PayPal explains:

It’s easy to get started. When composing a message in Messenger with one person, or even a group, people can tap on the blue plus icon, and then select the green Payments button to quickly send or request money. People can then choose PayPal as their funding source when making a P2P payment with their Messenger contacts.

PayPal and Facebook Messenger actually partnered in 2016, to allow PayPal users to receive messages through Messenger and to allow Facebook users to use PayPal during “Facebook’s commerce experiences.”

Facebook Messenger also already had a payment option, but it required people to pause the conversation and add their debit card number—which, again, is procrastination-level friction. You might have to get up off the couch and go find your debit card, for example, if you don’t have it set up to auto-fill or don’t already have the number memorized.

(That’s a good question for Billfold readers: how many of you have your debit/credit numbers memorized, including expiration date and three-digit security code? I’ve only memorized one of my cards so far, but it’s been a very useful series of numbers to have ready to go.)

But now PayPal and Messenger have changed their relationship status.

This new Facebook/PayPal partnership has also allowed PayPal to launch a new Customer Service Bot:

This new PayPal bot for Messenger will enable people to have meaningful customer service interactions, such as resetting passwords, handling account inquiries, and helping with refunds or payment issues so we can help you get what you need and get on with your day.

I love that they threw “meaningful” in there, like the bot is going to make us feel something, when half of us are going to ignore and/or resent the “Good afternoon, Nicole, how can I help you today?” and “I think I can help with that. May I take a few minutes to look up your information?” pre-programmed dialogue. (“May I take a few minutes…” isn’t really a question. It means “Please hold.”)

Anyway, if there’s a friend out there who owes you money—and they didn’t get it to you on Bank of America’s Pay Back a Friend Day—you can now open up a Facebook Messenger chat and, after a few minutes of small talk, ask them to pay you via PayPal.

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