Facebook messaging app to get unified payment system

Facebook on Tuesday said it is consolidating the system that handles payments at the social network and in its family of messaging apps. The move comes in a climate of political rhetoric that includes calling for the California-based internet company to be broken up.

Transactions such as payments or donations at Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp or the main social network will eventually be handled by a unified Facebook Pay system, according to marketplace and commerce vice president Deborah Liu.

"People already use payments across our apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other," Liu said in an online post.

"Facebook Pay will make these transactions easier while continuing to ensure your payment information is secure and protected." Facebook Pay will provide a single system behind the scenes to handle financial transactions and safeguard data such as credit card numbers or delivery addresses for people who may use several of the social network's applications.

The unified service will begin rolling out in the US this week for fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, and person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases on Facebook, according to Liu.

"Over time, we plan to bring Facebook Pay to more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp," Liu said.

Payments in Facebook apps are processed in partnerships with PayPal, Stripe and other online financial transactions platforms around the world, and are separate from a Calibra digital wallet being built to handle a proposed Libra cryptocurrency, according to Liu.

"Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps," Liu said.

"We believe we can help businesses grow and empower people everywhere to buy and sell things online." Facebook's planned digital currency Libra is facing heated opposition from policymakers around the world.

Facebook had originally hoped to roll out Libra next year but has met fierce resistance from regulators and governments who see it as a threat to their monetary sovereignty. 

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