Called Snapcash, the new service works in collaboration with Square, a payment-processing service that already allows users to send money via email by typing the amount required into the subject line. Snapcash will work in a similar fashion, with users over the age of 18 sending the amount as a figure through the app’s instant messaging feature.
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In a blog post, Snapchat said: “Today is a big day for us - we are launching our first product created in partnership with another company. We’re huge fans of the folks at Square and have been big admirers of Square Cash since it launched - just type a dollar amount into the subject line of an email and send cash to friends. Genius!
“The product you’re seeing today is fast, fun, and incredibly simple. After you enter your debit card, it’s securely stored by Square, who will swiftly process your payment and send cash directly to your friend’s bank account. Just swipe into chat, type the dollar sign, an amount and hit the green button.”
New technology built into the app will recognise the dollar sign and trigger the payment feature.
The vanishing message service confirmed that, for now, the feature would only be available to users in the United States, but it has already come under scrutiny following a recent hack which saw more than two million Snapchatters’ account names and phone numbers leaked online.
One commenter on Snapchat’s blog post said: “Okay so why would anybody want this? The first thought that came to my mind was its probably gonna be super easy to hack...”
Then just last month, thousands of explicit photos taken within Snapchat were posted online after hackers targeted a third-party app which saved users’ Snapchat photos.
Traditionally, photos and videos sent via Snapchat disappear after 10 seconds and cannot be retrieved - unless specifically posted using the app’s Story feature - which makes them viewable by friends for up to 24 hours. However, unofficial apps do exist which allow photos received to be saved to the Cloud. It was one of these services, rather than Snapchat itself, that was targeted as part of the photo leak.
Nonetheless, the tech firm has moved to ease concerns over security now that bank account details are part of the service.
“We set out to make payments faster and more fun, but we also know that security is essential when you’re dealing with money,” said the blog post. “Square has a ton of experience in this area and our teams have been hard at work to make Snapcash a great experience for everyone.”
This latest feature is a continued sign of Snapchat’s attempts to extend beyond messaging. Recently the app began to show adverts for the first time, as well as content from live events as it looks to compete with other messaging and social network services.
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