Facebook Goes After Your Coins on Messenger

And By ‘Coins,’ We Mean Money Transfers on Messenger 

Facebook Messenger just thought of a new way to remind you when you owe someone money. According to the The Verge, the social network is testing out what we’re calling a new ‘pay back feature.’

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Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re chatting with your friend about a recent night out. During the convo, someone drops words like ‘IOU’ or ‘ you owe me.’ Facebook’s feature with the help of chat assist and machine learning will pick up on those words or similar phrases.  The feature will then prompt you or your friend to make a payment right then and there.  While the feature does this automatically, it’s up to each party to decide whether they want to settle their debts right there on Messenger or keep their ‘IOU’ status a bit longer.

Just another sign that Facebook’s trying to get deep into the payments game. The company didn’t stop there. It’s also introduced group chat polling to help planning nights out with friends a bit easier.  Turn all the way up tonight or do something more chill and low-key? That could be the question.

U.S. Facebook users are in luck because both features are only available Stateside – for now.

What do you think? Good move by FB or completely unnecessary? Tell us what you think in the comments or take our poll!

Peer-To-Peer (Money) Petty

PayPal-owned peer-to-peer money transfer app Venmo is a hit among millennials because of its social feed.  While Venmo users are launching the app to complete transactions a couple of times a week, they’re spending most of their time checking out what their friends are doing. Who charged who and for what? It’s a good way to get all up in people’s business. Although the app is a quick and efficient way to reimburse your friends, it turns out that the app may be turning your peers into petty people.

venmo

A recent QZ article documented how ‘p2p petty’ may be the trend. The article suggests that “invoicing” friends after sharing an experience (i.e., a night in with Netflix and wine, sharing cab rides, meeting up for drinks, etc.) is fast becoming commonplace.  To avoid any awkward situations with friends, a select few are avoiding downloading the app and opting to deal in traditional cash money instead.

Which camp do you fall in? Tell us your petty story with Venmo or other peer-to-peer money transfer services!

ETFs, WTF?: When Financial Investments Go Robo

 

Earlier this month, we learned that Snapchat is reportedly working on a new feature for its app. This has nothing to do with special filters, but everything to do with money.  That’s right, Snapchat is rumored to be working on a robo-advisor service to help advise users on how to invest their money. The app also plans to provide users with access to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), an easy and cheap way to find and access investment opportunities whether they are stocks (like Apple’s stock) or commodities (think, gold).

If you have recently come into some money by nabbing your first job, winning the lottery, or doing something in between, here’s what you should know:

Robo-Advisors Explained …

When it comes to robo-advisors, think more algorithms and less human interaction.  In other words, robo-advisors are simply computer programs that use algorithms to propose automated investment recommendations suitable for you.

Who Are the Major Players?finance

According to Deloitte, automated investment advisers like Betterment and Wealthfront along with about nine other firms make up the growing robo-advisor industry. Though a nascent industry, Deloitte anticipates that the robo-advisor industry could grow to US $5 – US $7 trillion in the next decade. The industry’s growth will likely be attributable to new players wanting to get in on the robo-advisor action. The entities reportedly looking to enter the market could range from established wealth management firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab to peer-to-peer and web-based services like Venmo, Snapchat, Inuit’s Mint, Twitter, etc.

What’s Your Angle, Snapchat?

With a 100 million monthly users, Snapchat is actively searching for creative ways to generate revenue.  Increasing advertising efforts and its less than successful attempt to offer sponsored lenses via its Lens Stores are just a couple of ways the messaging app has tried to cash in on its growing audience. But, that was the past. Moving forward, it is possible that Snapchat is banking on its robust Millennial user base (about 70% of its users are between the ages of 18 and 34) to profit off of a potential robo-advisor service.  

While Michael Kitces (partner and research director at Pinnacle Advisory Group) gives kudos to the Snapchat for its audience, Kitces is skeptical about social platforms entering into the “robo” space.  Kitces explains that even the big guys in this space only bring in a few million dollars a year in revenue. He even questions what social media platforms see in a market where current players are folding and exiting the business.

Well, social media company Facebook may just have uncovered the answer.  The company’s latest study of its Millennial users found that young people are increasingly trusting robo-advisors and turning to them for guidance on investments.  

Bringing It All Together …  

Snapchat’s angle seems pretty simple: Take a majority of your users who are financially prudent Millennials and want to know how to invest their money. Add their increased interest in using robo-advisors. That comes out to Snapchat potentially seeing a lot of green.

 

ICYMI: 5 FinTech Trends to Watch in 2016

Originally published on Tech.Co. 

“Financial tech (FinTech) and the payments landscape is changing – and fast. For years, reputable entities such as McKinsey & Co. have documented the industry’s evolution. Recently, in its monthly global payments report, McKinsey determined that the industry will continue its growth after “an extraordinary year in 2014.” If 2014 was an “extraordinary year” for payments, then 2016 will be monumental. There is no better indicator of this than this year’s Money 20/20, an annual financial services conference, held in Las Vegas, NV last week…”

Check out the full article here.