Facebook has added the option to send money to your friends through Messenger - for free. Here’s how to send money on Facebook Messenger. Also see: 15 best Facebook Messenger tips and tricks.

Note that this feature is active only in the US for now, and requires the registration of a US debit card (credit or other cards are not accepted), but should be rolling out to the UK soon and we’ll let you know when it becomes available. Users must be at least 18 years old, and their preferred currency must be US dollars (in Facebook choose Settings, Payments, Account Settings, Preferences to check).

The service uses PIN protection and, according to Facebook, meets industry-leading security standards.

To get started, first ensure Facebook Messenger is up to date in the App Store or Google Play.

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How to send money on Messenger

• Add a (US) debit card to Messenger. On Android click the profile icon and scroll down to Payments; on iOS go to Settings, Payments. Click Add New Debit Card.

• Open a chat with the friend you want to send money to and press the More button (on Android it’s an icon with three dots in a rectangle).

• Tap the icon that shows a dollar sign in a circle.

• Tap Pay at the top right and complete the transaction. You can alternatively tap Request to ask for a payment to be made. Beware that if you accidentally send the wrong amount you cannot reverse it. Instead, ask then to decline the payment or send it back.

• In order to receive money you must also have a US debit card registered in Messenger, but note that it can take up to five days for your bank to make that money available to you. If you have several cards and want to register a specific one for receiving payments, go to Settings, Payments and under Debit Cards select the card you wish to use and tap ‘Accept Money with This Card’.

• Your message payment history is visible in Settings, Payments, Payment History.

• If you are in the US and are unable to send money in Messenger, this may be because your friend hasn’t added a debit card to their account, has decline the transaction, or payments are disabled on their Facebook account. Alternatively, it may be that there are issues with your own card, in which case you should call your bank.

Read next: Facebook Messenger isn't evil and it's not about to spy on you.

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