Facebook Messenger might soon compete with PayPal for your mobile payments

Facebook Messenger may soon be able to process friend-to-friend payments.

Any user of the Facebook app will be familiar with the Facebook Messenger application. Facebook released its standalone Messenger application in October of 2011, and in April, the company removed the messaging feature from the principal Facebook application, forcing everyone to download Messenger if they wanted to access their messages on the go.

Now that a huge portion of its users have the app in their pocket, it looks like Facebook is planning to expand the functionality of Facebook Messenger to include the ability for users to send payments to one another. TechCrunch received the above screenshots from a Stanford computer science student by the name of Andrew Aude. The screenshots show the ability to send money using Facebook’s app and an associated credit or debit card.

Though Facebook hasn’t talked a whole lot about payments, the company did just appoint former PayPal president David Marcus as head of Messenger. Not only that, but the company earlier this year mentioned payments would be integrated with Messenger at some point. What we’re seeing in these screenshots is likely a first glimpse of those plans. Late last year, RBC became the first financial institution in North America to allow e-transfers to Facebook Messenger contacts via the RBC app.

The cost of an e-Transfer using RBC’s app is $1 for personal customers, or $1.50 for small business customers. It’s not yet clear if Facebook plans to charge money for transfers, though if it’s free, it would definitely make the service a lot more appealing. From the screenshots and video, it looks like Facebook is almost ready to go with this feature, so an official launch, or at least an announcement, likely isn’t too far away.