What are Meta’s payment plans?

Meta is to rebrand Facebook Pay as Meta Pay in a bid to bring it closer to the Meta brand alongside enhancing the payment experience.

In a blog post, Stephane Kasriel, head of commerce and financial technologies at Meta (formerly known as Facebook), said that alongside the rebrand, the company is also focused on enhancing the payments experiences it provides with Facebook Pay, where it is seeing good adoption.

The service is currently available in 160 countries and 55 currencies. Meta is to focus on the countries it is already in, with no immediate plans to expand to new countries.

In the US, the company has brought new payment features to Messenger, including the pay command, ability to split payments, birthday cash gifting and QR codes to send or request money.

In Brazil, it has been investing in partnerships with local financial institutions to, according to Kasriel, “better serve people who historically have not had access to safe and convenient digital payments.”

Moreover, in India, Meta has introduced new features to make sending money as easy as sending a message, such as the Rupee symbol within the WhatsApp chat composer, and expressive stickers and background to celebrate cultural milestones such as Diwali and Holi.

Kasriel also said Meta is looking at how to simplify the payments experience across its platforms so that people and businesses can access the benefits of interoperability in the metaverse.

“We view this as a single wallet experience for people to use to represent who they are, what they own, and how they pay. We’re in the very early stages of scoping out what a single wallet experience might look like and will have more to say further down the line,” he  added.

The announcement of these plans follows a report by the Financial Times that Meta is seeking to introduce virtual coins, tokens and lending services into its apps.

The company has reportedly been exploring the creation of a virtual currency for the metaverse, which employees internally have dubbed “Zuck Bucks”, according to the Financial Times report.

This is unlikely to be a cryptocurrency based on the blockchain, some of the people said. Instead, Meta is leaning towards introducing in-app tokens that would be centrally controlled by the company.

The company’s previous cryptocurrency venture did not fare well. In 2019, then Facebook, revealed its project named the Diem project, which involved launching a cryptocurrency called Libra. However, the project has recently announced that it would “begin the process of winding down” by selling its technology and other assets, after experiences regulatory difficulties and scrutiny.

According to reports, the assets will be sold to Silvergate Bank — a crypto-focused bank in California that had partnered with the group to launch the digital currency — for $182m.

Silvergate will acquire Diem’s assets, including development, deployment, and operations infrastructure.

In his blog post discussing the next chapter for Meta’s payment services, Kasriel said, “Our path forward is grounded in our mission to empower everyone, everywhere to access the world’s financial system to accelerate financial inclusion and economic empowerment.

“Designing products and infrastructure with the metaverse in mind today will help facilitate innovation that delivers greater access and real cost savings — before the metaverse even becomes mainstream. Now is the time to lay down the building blocks for the future. Because once that foundation is in place, the potential of the metaverse, and where it can take FinTech next, will be limitless.”

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