Facebook's next upgrade: In-store payments with Messenger

Facebook plans to make Messenger the 'everything app' by using it to deliver ever-more products and services.

Eric Risberg/AP/File
CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about Messenger during the Facebook F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco.

Facebook has big plans for its Messenger app. The app – which already allows users to send money to each other – is reportedly getting new features that will allow users to pay for products within the app, as well purchase in-store products.

The company’s plan is to make Messenger the “everything app” by providing increased products and services via the app, “making other apps irrelevant,” according to Forbes.

Messenger's two latest features are an in-store payment feature, similar to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and "Secret Conversations," a tool for encrypted conversations between users, TechSpot reported.

Facebook might intend to partner with Apple Pay, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted during a press conference in January.

"We'll partner with everyone who does payments," Mr. Zuckerberg said then. "We look at the stuff that Apple is doing with Apple Pay, for example, as a really neat innovation in the space that takes a lot of friction out of transactions as well."

Facebook’s global Internet penetration is 55 percent, which means that more than half of the world’s Internet users have Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, or Instagram, according to Forbes.

Messenger – which has nearly 800 million users – is also experimenting with “chatbots,” an artificial intelligence program that can have conversations with users and assist assist them with their online transactions, including shopping, booking flights, and making reservations at restaurants.

Messenger has grown rapidly from its start as a tool for text conversations. In 2015, Nielsen dubbed Messenger the fastest growing app, having increased its user base by 31 percent that year alone. One key contributor to its rapid growth: As of 2015, you can use Messenger without having a Facebook account.

The app's evolution from chat to pay follows the model of several Asian companies, including WeChat, LINE, and KakaoTalk, that expanded their messaging apps into e-commerce.

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