In a joint effort with PayPal, the social media giant launched a new app this week called Send Money that could remake the money-transfer business. While a number of so-called peer-to-peer payment systems already exist, the new app offers a seamless money transfer system between Facebook friends -- and captures Facebook's more than 800 million users.
I took the new app for a test drive. On Thursday, I sent my sister $5 to say "Thanks for being a great sibling!" While I have a PayPal login, I don't keep actual funds in a PayPal account, so I used PayPal to make a payment via my credit card.
But if you fund the transfer directly from your bank account, or with money that is kept in a PayPal account it can be sent for free. And PayPal cash can be used for currencies in 65 countries.
The turnaround time beat snail mail by a long shot: After I made the payment, my sister reported getting a link for the gift in less than two minutes. She logged into PayPal, where the prompts directed her to withdraw the money from PayPal and transfer it to her bank account. Recipients can also request a paper check.
One disconcerting part of the payment transfer: The email receipt for my payment showed $5, not the actual $5.45 that was debited from my credit card.
Catherine New can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.