Facebook introduced person-to-person payments within Messenger in early 2015, when it made it possible for two people to send payments to each other via a debit card stored on the app on Android, iOS and desktop. Now Messenger users in the U.S. can send and receive money between groups of people on the app, Facebook announced on Tuesday.
Just like with the one-on-one payments feature, all you need to do to get started is to hook up your Facebook account with a debit card, which you can then associate with a PIN to authorize your payments. Now when you’re in a group conversation in Messenger, you can tap the Payments icon (which you can find by tapping the plus sign in the bottom left corner). From there, choose the folks in the convo that you want to either send or ask money from, enter in the desired amount plus an accompanying note, and send it off.
“Starting today, you can send or receive money between groups of people on Messenger,” Facebook product manager Partha Sundaram said in a blog post on Tuesday. “It’s free, simple, fast and secure. Whether you’re splitting a restaurant bill or chipping in for a group gift, all you need to do is go to a new or existing Messenger group conversation to get started.”
Facebook suggests the new feature would be useful for groups where everyone is chipping in on a purchase – like a group gift – or are splitting a restaurant bill. These are areas where people today still tend to turn to standalone payment services, like PayPal, Venmo, or Square Cash.
The move to add group payments to Messenger also comes at a time when Facebook has been rumored to be preparing the launch of a digital payments business in India within its other messaging app, WhatsApp.