How to use mobile pay, and why Facebook is investing in it

WASHINGTON — It’s fast becoming the way people pay each other — for lunch, tickets, even rent. And so, many companies — including Facebook — are jumping into the mobile pay game.

The next time you go to send a note in Facebook messenger, some users may notice they can also send money through Facebook Payments.

“They see this as a hot space. There’s a lot of control and upside to being the middle man in these transactions,” says Ken Colburn, with the Data Doctors.

Facebook is late to the game in mobile pay. There are a few options already to choose from, and the apps can work differently, Colburn says.

Venmo, which is owned by Paypal, requires both users to have the app. Others, such as Square Cash, let you send money with just the recipient’s email address. Most apps also let users request money from their contacts.

“Make sure you understand any associated fees that come along with these services. Most of the services that use a debit card,  there’s no transaction fee,” he says.

But if the app requires a credit card, be prepared for credit card transaction fees around 2.9 or 3 percent.

For convenience, some of these apps hang on to credit card information. For most of them, the settings can be reconfigured; however, if you disconnect your card before the payment is processed, the app won’t work.

“They do tend to hang on to your money for one, two or three days, and that’s essentially where it’s beneficial for them,” Colburn says.

If you’ve made a purchase through Facebook, it likely has stored your card information. To add or remove credit card info from your payment settings in Facebook:

  • Click in the top right of Facebook and select Settings.
  • Click Payments in the left column.
  • Click Account Settings.
  • Below Payment Methods, click Add Payment Method to add a new credit card.
  • To remove a credit card, click Remove.
Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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