Mobile messaging apps have been at the forefront of some of the most drastic changes communication has experienced thus far.
First they changed the way we talk .
Then they changed the way we share files.
Now, they’re changing the way we make payments.
In what is probably Instant Messaging’s latest craze, Message commerce refers to the practice of making payments via messaging apps. While it might seem a bit far fetched for some people , the practice of making payments via chat apps is already in use in some countries around the world.
Today we’ll take a look at how some messaging apps are facilitating payments through their platform.
Perhaps one of the best working models of message commerce is popular Chinese messaging app, WeChat.
In China , 84% of WeChat users send and make payments via the app. Buying everything from real-estate, clothing items and even insurance. Spring of 2015 was the first time WeChat extended its payment functionality outside China. Currently, WeChat’s payment platform, WeChat wallet is available in more than 20 countries and this number is set to rise.
And it’s not just payments for goods and services, WeChat is also a major fundraising platform. According to GlobalwebIndex, about one fifth of WeChat users frequently donate money via the app. Case in Point, in 2015 , the application invited users of the app to support UNICEF’s post-earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.
% of WeChat users who made a donation within the last month. Source GlobalWebIndex.
WeChat also recently partnered with Global financial service giant, western union to launch a new global money transfer service. The service now allows WeChat users in the US to send money cross-border to 200 countries and territories around the world.
According to market researcher eMarketer, mobile payments are expected to more than triple this year, to $27 billion from $8.7 billion in 2015. It is also estimated that one in every five smartphone users, will use mobile payments in 2016.
In 2014 , Japanese messaging app Line released its global payment service platform, LinePay .The platform lets users make payments for services at shops that support the option. Users can link their line account to their American Express, Diner’s Club, JCB, Master Card, and Visa cards.
Image Source: Tech Crunch
In the western world, Facebook Messenger has also begun to make significant strides in message payments. The company has continually maintained that they envision Messenger as more than just a messaging app. Stating that...
"Helping people communicate more naturally with businesses will improve, I think, almost every person's life because it's something everyone does." - Mark Zuckerburg
Messenger which begun as a simple app in 2011 now has over 700 million users . In 2015, they partnered with Dutch airline KLM to make booking confirmation and boarding passes via the app.
The company also launched a peer - to - peer payment system that allows friends to send money to each other through the app. To pay friends via Messenger, all you have to do is add a debit card so you can pay straight from your checking account without fees.
"The messaging era is definitely now, It's the one thing people do more than anything else on their phone. ..I believe that messaging is the next big platform. In terms of time spent, attention, retention - this is where it's happening. And it's a once in a generation opportunity to build it." - David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook
Message Commerce is set to be one of the biggest business trends in 2016 . Aside from customer service, using messaging apps to make payments creates a whole new dynamic between consumers and businesses.
We expect that messaging app companies will continue to attract ( and retain) users by pushing for more payment oriented services and partnering with businesses all around the world to sell goods and services via their platforms.
The one thing we can guarantee for sure is that message commerce holds massive potential, one that we're excited to see materialize in the near future.
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