What is Facebook Pay and how does it work?

Adam Rozsa

Facebook Pay allows users to buy from businesses on Facebook Marketplace, send and receive money from friends, and make donations to good causes.

You can use Facebook Pay through your regular Facebook account or the Messenger app, and when buying on Instagram.

Simply link a credit card, debit card or PayPal to set up Facebook Pay, and you can make seamless and secure payments instantly.

This guide covers all you need to know to start using Facebook Pay to split bills, make charitable donations, or grab that bargain you spotted from a local business on Facebook or Instagram.

We’ll also touch on how Wise can help you to send money abroad with low and transparent fees. You could save up to 6x compared to regular banks – but more on this later.

Save up to 6x with Wise

📝 Table of contents

What is Facebook Pay?

Let’s start with a look at what you can do with Facebook Pay. At the time of writing, you can use Facebook Pay to¹:

  • Buy online via Facebook Marketplace and on Instagram²
  • Buy online in Facebook Portal
  • Send money to friends or businesses
  • Receive payments from friends
  • Make charity donations
  • Make in-app purchases
  • Buy event tickets

Sending a payment to a friend or business with Facebook Pay is super quick, which makes this a handy service for splitting a restaurant bill, making a donation to a fundraising drive, or that impulse purchase you spotted on Instagram and just can’t say no to.

You don’t need to get any bank or card details from your recipient to make a Facebook Pay transfer - it’s as simple as starting a chat with them on Messenger.

The money will land almost instantly in the recipient’s bank or PayPal account, too - so there’s no waiting around to get paid back by a friend or receive customer payments if you own a small business.

Availability of Facebook Pay does vary from one country to another, and more services are being gradually rolled out to cover other social media sites like WhatsApp in future³.

💡 In the United States, you can use Facebook Pay with Facebook or Messenger, as well as Instagram.

how does facebook pay work

How does Facebook Pay work?

Facebook Pay is integrated into apps you may well already have, like Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. To start using Facebook Pay, you just need to add a payment method, which can be a credit or debit card, or your existing PayPal account. If you already have payment details on file from previous purchases made online, you may not even need to re-enter your bank card or PayPal details.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to set up Facebook Pay⁴:

  • Log into your Facebook or Messenger account
  • Go to Settings and select Facebook Pay
  • Follow the prompts to link a payment card or your PayPal account
  • Create a PIN or choose to secure payments with your phone’s biometric lock if you’d like to
  • You’re all set and ready to make and receive payments

Once your Facebook Pay account is active, you can send payments and make purchases easily without needing to log into your online banking or dig out your payment cards. All your payment details are securely stored, and with the option to add an extra layer of security like a PIN, you’ll know your information and transactions are always safe. We’ll cover a bit more about the safety and security side of using Facebook Pay, a little later.

Is there a fee to use Facebook Pay?

Facebook does not charge any fee for using Facebook Pay.

However, it’s possible your own card provider may charge fees when you send or receive payments. This may also apply if you choose to use PayPal as your preferred payment method.

For example, buying something in a foreign currency could attract foreign transaction fees set by your card provider, or a currency exchange markup if you pay with PayPal.

💡 Always check the specific details for your preferred payment method before you start making Facebook Pay transactions. Your bank may also impose a fee when you send or receive payments, depending on the terms and conditions of your particular account.


Send money overseas with Wise – and save up to 6x

If you’re shopping or sending money internationally, you could be better off with a Wise account.

Open the world’s most international account online and for free, to hold over 50 currencies and make instant, low-cost money transfers around the globe.

There are no hidden fees, and there’s no markup on the exchange rate - so whether you’re sending money to a friend abroad or treating yourself from your favorite international e-commerce seller, you could save 6x compared to using your normal bank.

Use your Wise account at home when you shop online and send cross border payments, and take your Wise card with you when you travel for easy payments and ATM withdrawals all around the world.

You can even add your Wise card to Apple Pay or Google Pay for mobile transactions wherever you are. Simple.

See how much you can save with Wise:

How do I send money with Facebook Pay?

Once you have Facebook Pay set up, sending money to a friend is easy⁵:

  • Open the Messenger app and start a chat with the person you’re sending to
  • At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a dollar sign icon - tap this
  • You’ll be prompted to enter the amount you want to send
  • Check the amount, and tap to confirm
  • Enter your PIN or use your phone’s biometrics to begin the transfer

Facebook Pay payments are made pretty much instantly, so if you have online banking you’ll be able to see the money move from your account as soon as you click confirm - and if you’re expecting a payment you should be able to see it posted to your linked account in moments.

This speed of payment - alongside the fact that Facebook doesn't charge a fee - is what makes Facebook Pay a good option for settling up with friends after a coffee, or sending money to a roommate for rent or bills - there’s no waiting around and no need to keep inputting bank details every time you want to transfer money.

how does facebook pay work

How do I receive money from Facebook Pay?

If you have Facebook Pay already set up on your account, you’ll get a message when someone sends you money. It will look similar to the notification you’d get if someone sent you a regular message - and will confirm the amount being paid and the sender name. You won’t need to do anything at all to receive the payment - it’ll simply arrive instantly in your linked bank or PayPal account.

If someone sends you money on Facebook Pay and you don’t yet have an account set up, you’ll still get a notification, and will be prompted to add your card or PayPal account details. Once these are added, the money will be deposited instantly.

Is Facebook Pay safe?

When you set up Facebook Pay, you have the option of adding a Facebook Pay PIN, or managing your transactions with your phone’s biometric locks. That means you’d need to enter the PIN or use your fingerprint for example to authorize any Facebook Pay transactions. This is an extra layer of security which can help keep your Facebook Pay account safe if your phone was lost, stolen or compromised.

In addition, Facebook Pay uses advanced anti-fraud technology to monitor all transactions and check for unusual or suspicious payments⁶. You’ll be able to see your full transaction history within the service, so you can check transfers and payments yourself - and the Facebook Pay customer support team are also on hand to answer questions 24/7. You can email customer support, open an in-app chat, or call the team to get help whenever you need it.

It’s helpful to know that when you use a service like Facebook Pay, your personal data and card number isn’t ever shared with the merchant you’re buying from or the person you’re sending money to. Sensitive information is stored separately to your account details, making this a pretty secure way to transact online.

how does facebook pay work

Is Facebook Pay the same as PayPal?

Facebook Pay and PayPal both offer ways to send payments to individuals and businesses.

However, they’re not the same service. While PayPal is one of the most established global digital payment providers, Facebook Pay is somewhat newer, with functionality still limited in terms of both geographical location and the number of compatible apps.

Facebook Pay is probably most useful to people who use Facebook and Messenger a lot, either to chat to friends or to follow businesses.

To use Facebook Pay you need a Facebook account - at the moment this applies even if you actually want to make a payment through Instagram. While this is likely to change to allow people to use the service without having a Facebook profile first, it’s a limiting factor if you’re not a big fan of Facebook.

PayPal - as a dominating force in online and ecommerce payments - is more flexible and more recognized around the world.

PayPal may be more widely accepted by e-commerce merchants than Facebook Pay, with many retailers on both platforms and standalone e-commerce sites taking PayPal as a payment method. Facebook Pay is predominantly used when buying from sellers on Facebook marketplace and Instagram.

All that said, you can use your PayPal account to make Facebook Pay transfers and purchases, which can be handy if you’re a regular PayPal user shopping on your social media.

Bottom line

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are part of daily life for many of us. So it makes perfect sense to start using these sites to speed up payments when we buy things from businesses, donate to charities and fundraisers, or send money to friends and family.

Check out Facebook Pay as a simple way to get your money where it needs to be fast, without needing to dig out your bank details or remember to carry your payment cards every time.

And don’t forget to take a look at the Wise multi-currency account for low cost international payments in person, online and on the move.

Learn more about Wise


1]Facebook Pay
2]Facebook Pay FAQs
3]Facebook Pay - availability
4]Facebook Pay - how it works
5] Facebook help - send and receive money
6]Facebook Pay - security

All sources checked on 28 October 2021

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location