Starting Friday, Messenger users in the U.S. who log in with their PayPal accounts can use the popular messaging platform to send and request money to one another.
“The ability to send and request money in Messenger gives people more choice and more convenient ways to get things done in different contexts,” PayPal COO Bill Ready told Yahoo Finance.
Sending and requesting money on Messenger is an easy affair as long as PayPal users log onto their accounts inside Messenger or avail of the option to link their Messenger and PayPal accounts when they make purchases online.
The move makes sense for PayPal, which already processes over $80 billion in peer-to-peer payments — the kind of payment method popularized by PayPal-owned services such as Venmo.
Previously, over 2.5 million PayPal users used Messenger to make purchases on the messaging platform. But Friday’s announcement potentially expands PayPal’s reach even further, allowing the payments company to potentially tap into Messenger’s 1.3 billion monthly active users.
It’s also worth noting that Messenger users in the U.S. have been able to pay one another inside the app since March 2015, requiring people to enter their debit card information as a method of payment. (Since then, Messenger has stayed mum on how many users are actually using the feature.) For comparison, PayPal allows people to make payments by inputting their debit card, credit card or bank account information.
Getting into the business of bots
PayPal also rolled out on Friday its first customer service chat bot that lets PayPal users forego calling the traditional customer service representative for things like resetting passwords, handling account inquiries, and helping with refunds or payment issues.
PayPal joins businesses ranging from Bank of America to Burberry with bots on Messenger. Trulia’s bot, for instance, serves up rental listings to users who put in their zip code and price range, while Kayaks bot helps Messenger users find flights, places to stay and rental cars.
The addition of PayPal to Messenger’s growing roster of bots feeds into Messenger’s larger vision of becoming a go-to platform for businesses that want to reach users and users who crave customer service without having to talk to someone.
Roughly 65% of interactions with large businesses still occur over the phone, whether customers like it or not, Facebook Head of Messenger David Marcus told Yahoo Finance this September.
“It’s not about bots taking over customer care — it’s about messaging being the place where people will be the most comfortable communicating and interacting with businesses,” explained Marcus, who previously ran PayPal as president.
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