It seems like just about every major tech company has come up with a branded payment system for its users. There's Google Pay (once known as Android Pay), Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and now, Facebook Pay.
Facebook Pay was announced today, with the primary goal of providing Facebook users with a "convenient, secure, and consistent" payment experience throughout various company properties, including Facebook itself and Messenger. Instagram and WhatsApp support is coming down the line.
Unlike the other "Pay" services we first discussed, which function across a broad range of digital and real-world locations (including many major retail stores), Facebook Pay's scope will be limited to the platforms mentioned above. This is perhaps for the best: one could argue that the world doesn't really need yet another debit card alternative.
Regardless, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. How, exactly, does Facebook Pay work? According to the company, you can set up the service by simply visiting the Settings section of the official Facebook app or website. Upon doing so, you'll be able to add a payment method of your choice.
Once you've finished those easy steps, you can use Facebook Pay to send money directly to your friends and family, donate to charities, fundraisers or other social causes, and purchase items on "select" Facebook Marketplace Pages and businesses. If you're a fan of Facebook's library of social games, you can also use it to pay for in-game microtransactions.
Facebook promises that all of your payment information will be "securely [stored]" and encrypted. If you're particularly wary about the security, you can setup pre-purchase biometric or PIN code requirements as well.
You might be asking yourself why Facebook Pay exists. When it comes to paying for things online or sending money between users, we aren't exactly starved for choice. In addition to the other "Pay" variants mentioned earlier, there's also Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, debit and credit cards, Payoneer, and Stripe, to name a few.
However, there's something to be said for the level of convenience Facebook Pay seems to offer; particularly for less tech-savvy users. If you don't use the internet for much more than browsing Facebook and playing its built-in games, perhaps Facebook Pay is the right choice for you.