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Is Facebook Pay really just a convenient trade-off for more access to your data?

Facebook Pay was announced on Tuesday with an aim to provide users of Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook a secure and stable payments platform across these four social networks. It can be used to shop on apps, donate as well as send money to friends.

Facebook says that once you’ve added your preferred payment method to Facebook Pay, you won’t have to re-enter your payment information — much like if you save your card information on any similar payment app — each time you wish to make a purchase on one of the Facebook apps or make payments otherwise.

So, basically, the company now also wants to know a bit about your financial data, and this little added convenience in the garb of Facebook Pay is a trade-off for that.

When users make a payment via Facebook Pay, the company will collect information “such as the payment method, transaction date, billing, shipping and contact details.” Moreover, according to the company, Facebook Pay data will also be used to deliver relevant ads.

The data will also be used to provide customer support and “promote safety and integrity” in cases where the payments policies have been violated. Facebook says that the card and bank account numbers of users will not be used to personalise their experience, including the ads.Is Facebook Pay a convenient trade-off for more access to your data? Users will be able to choose whether to set up Facebook Pay across all the apps where it’s available automatically or set them up manually. In addition, payment history will be available to users, and they’ll also be able to manage their payment methods and update their settings centrally for all platforms.

The payments and transaction history will only be accessible to the user, and they won’t be shared with friends or to the user’s profile or feed unless they choose to share it.

When and where is Facebook Pay releasing?

Facebook Pay is currently rolling out on Facebook and Messenger for users in USA this week, who will be able to use the service for fundraisers, purchases from several pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace, in-game or in-app purchases and event tickets.

The payment feature will be included in Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as be launched in more countries in the future. Real-time customer support is also available via live chat in US and will also come to more places worldwide as and when the service rolls out there.

“When it comes to payments, security and privacy are paramount. That’s why we take extra steps to protect your payment information,” explains Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Public Policy at Facebook. “You can choose to add a PIN or use your device biometrics, such as touch or face ID recognition, to add an extra layer of security when sending money or making a payment. Facebook will not receive or store your device’s biometric information.”

Facebook Pay will support all major credit and debit cards and PayPal. The payments are processed in collaboration with companies like Stripe, PayPal and other similar companies in different countries worldwide. The company says that Facebook Pay is separate from Calibra wallet, which runs on the Libra network.

The digital payments market is already a crowded one and the launch of Facebook Pay doesn’t really add up from the user’s perspective.

Also read: How far has Fairphone come since its inception?

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