Facebook is getting more serious about becoming your go-to for mobile payments
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Facebook is aiming for a more cohesive strategy around digital payments with the formation of a new division, Facebook Financial, that “will run all payments projects, including Facebook Pay,” according to Bloomberg. The unit is led by seasoned Facebook exec David Marcus, who was formerly in charge of Messenger before moving on to focus on the company’s blockchain efforts and Libra cryptocurrency.
He’ll still be overseeing that effort, but Facebook Financial will prove equally important if not more so as the company seeks to get its hugely popular apps — Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp — running on the same messaging backbone. Facebook Pay lets you send money to friends / family or purchase goods across Facebook’s software platforms. In the US, it can be used in Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, though elsewhere in the world it’s still largely limited to the core Facebook app. (You can find more details here.)
Today we’re creating a new group to look after all things payments/FS @Facebook (FB Pay, Novi, WhatsApp payments, …). With that, I’m excited to welcome @skasriel to look after FB Payments. No changes @Novi, which I’ll continue to lead directly.
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) August 10, 2020
Keeping Facebook users inside those apps for payments, rather than having them slip out to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, or other digital currency platforms, will help the company’s advertising bottom line. “As payments grow across Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we’re able to roll that out in more places, I think that that will only grow as a trend,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s latest earnings call, according to MarketWatch.
The Novi unit and Facebook’s embattled Libra cryptocurrency will fall under the Facebook Financial umbrella. Facebook has had to shift plans for Libra after months of regulatory pressure and financial partners bailing on the effort.
Facebook hasn’t made any official announcement for Facebook Financial (called “F2” internally, per Bloomberg), but it continues the company’s pursuit of a more cohesive experience centered around the Facebook brand — kind of like how “Facebook” is now stamped onto the loading screens for Instagram and WhatsApp.