Facebook may be taking notes from China’s messaging platform WeChat, which offers peer-to-peer (P2P) payment capabilities within its platform. Matt Navarra, Director of Social Media at the online publication The Next Web, shared some screenshots on his Twitter account that revealed the social media platform is testing a ‘Red Envelope’ P2P payment feature. Navarra is known to tweet about unreleased products and new features that he discovers within Facebook’s code.
Red envelopes are a tradition in China, where people gift cash to friends and family to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday. WeChat is known to use digital red envelopes, called hongbao, to bring users to adopt WeChat Pay. The idea is similar to Venmo, a popular digital wallet/payment service in the U.S. that has capabilities similar to a social media platform, for example allowing users to comment and ‘like’ each other's payments.
Facebook already allows users to make P2P payments within Facebook Messenger, according to eMarketer. However, the function is not available on desktop or mobile, so it will be interesting to see where the Red Envelope idea goes if the company decides to move forward with the implementation.