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First Gmail, now Facebook: money transfer meets social media

Speculation's been mounting since a Stanford student discovered hidden code in Facebook's Messenger app last year. But now, the social media giant has made it official – Facebook is about to make peer-to-peer money transfer as easy as sending your friend a photo or a document. So how does it work, and what's the catch?

Like Google Wallet, which lets users send money via Gmail and launched in the UK this year, this is a convenient, fast way to transfer money. Simply open a chat with your friend, tap the dollar sign and enter the amount, then tap 'pay' and type in your debit or credit card details – simple as that. To receive money, you need to add your card details to the app too. Once you've set up your charge account, you can send and receive money instantly wiith just a few clicks. 

While linking your financial information to any online account carries risks, Facebook argues its security is of the "highest industry standards". After all, this isn't totally new territory for the company – it handles more than one million transactions a day through games and advertising. The team encrypts the connection and information you share, and fraud specialists monitor payment systems to safeguard against suspicious activity.

You can add a PIN when you add your card information for an extra layer of security too, but as the system is new, it'll be a while before we know for sure how successful these security systems really are. It's also not yet clear how your spending habit data will be used, so carefully read the conditions before hitting that dollar sign.

So, is there a chance Facebook could become the new best way to transfer money abroad? Well, not yet. Although it's fast and easy, it's currently only available in the US. If it does extend its reach to new countries you're still unlikely to be able to choose from different exchange rates, which means you're not guaranteed the best deal.

Whether you're sending US dollars or Mexican real, you'll get the best rates from a foreign exchange broker. To find the right one for you, just use our simple comparison tool today.

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