Facebook’s ambition knows no bounds. Even while its core business is social networking, it isn’t opposed to expanding what constitutes “social” to justify its other endeavors. It acquired Oculus, for example, in order to make virtual reality into a social space and it has set up its own Marketplace to put a social spin on e-commerce. One of its more recent tricks was to make paying a social activity and it’s now expanding that for physical person-to-person money transfers.
It’s almost as if Facebook Pay is taking a step back in terms of payment modes. Of course, it’s not really surprising that it started out as an online and virtual system where you send money through Facebook’s social media apps and platforms to pay for goods, services, or even a restaurant bill. At a time when face-to-face interactions, Facebook seems to be rolling out a feature that will at least make in-person payments also a bit safer.
You can already send money through Messenger and Instagram, which, of course, works even when you’re already in front of each other. It might be a different case, however, if you need to send money or pay someone who might not be in your social circles, like in an impromptu or unplanned meeting. That’s where a QR Code comes in handy.
According to MacRumors, Facebook Pay’s carousel now includes a “Scan” option that lets you scan a QR Code to initiate the transaction. It doesn’t say whether you can actually do so for anyone, even if they’re not on your friends list. It might take some time to confirm that, though, as the feature seems to still be in limited testing in the US.
The big question is whether this new feature will give Facebook Pay a big popularity boost. The platform is pretty much considered a niche, operating just within Facebook’s circles and primarily as a means to pay for goods or services on Facebook. Whether it will become a new Venmo or similar will depend on whether this new feature will catch on.