Facebook friends can send money through Messenger app

messWant an easy way to send money to your friends? Facebook hopes you’ll turn to its newly beefed-up Messenger app for that, instead of relying on a growing list of competitors trying to siphon off its users.

The social-networking service on Tuesday said Facebook friends can now send cash to one another for free, after they’ve connected information from their MasterCard or Visa debit card accounts.

Users activate the feature by tapping a dollar sign while chatting with a friend in Facebook’s Messenger app. About 500 million people currently use Messenger.

The new feature helps Facebook stave off a growing list of competitors. Square, for example, partnered with Snapchat in November, giving users of the ephemeral messaging service an easy way to send cash to each other. PayPal’s Venmo and Square Cash also link to users’ debit cards, making it easy to split a bill among friends.  More