Facebook now lets you recharge your phone number: Here’s how it works

Here’s how you can recharge your phone number using Facebook.
| Updated on Apr 20 2018, 05:37 PM IST
Facebook now lets users top-up their prepaid mobile number.
Facebook now lets users top-up their prepaid mobile number. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Facebook has rolled out a new feature in India that allows users to top up their prepaid mobile connections. The feature is currently available on Facebook's Android application.

The latest feature followed reports that the social networking giant is testing a new payment service in India. The payment service will be integrated with Messenger, and remain independent of WhatsApp's payment service (which is also in testing phase in India), reported FactorsDaily.

How to recharge your phone number via Facebook

To get started, you need to have the latest version of Facebook's Android application. Tap on the menu button on the right corner and scroll down to choose the "Mobile Top Up" option.

The next screen will show you a button to top up your pre-paid mobile on Facebook. "Choose a plan and pay with your debit or credit card - it's fast, secure and free." Tap on the "Top Up Now" option. Note that Facebook currently supports Visa and MasterCard only.

(HT Photo)

Enter the phone number. Facebook will automatically detect the carrier. While you can manually enter the top-up amount, you can also choose from different mobile plans under the "browse plans" category.

(HT Photo)

Facebook also shows you a detailed log of payments history. You can save your card details and verify payment through a One Time Password (OTP). You will be notified once the payment is successfully carried out (on mobile and desktop).

(HT Photo)

You can also create four-digit payments PIN as well as a delivery address (which will probably be useful for future peer-to-peer or peer-to-merchant payments if rolled out).

Facebook eyes India's growing digital economy

Facebook has been offering peer-to-peer payment service on its Messenger platform since 2015. The feature, however, has remained exclusive to select countries such as the US and UK. The social networking giant claims that payment on Messenger is secure because it uses an encrypted connection.

FactorDaily, in its report, points out that Facebook recently hired Sunali Rohra from Visa as the head of payments partnership for India and South Asia. Rohra is said to have played a major role in rolling out Bharat QR, an integrated payment system that allows users to transfer their money from one source to another.

The social networking giant already offers a Marketplace on its platform that allows users to sell and purchase items through the application. Facebook's payment service could well help Marketplace grow further. There is also a chance that Facebook will allow users to make payments to businesses.

Digital payment platforms have grown significantly in India since the demonetisation drive in November 2016. While the initial beneficiaries of the drive were wallet companies such as Paytm, the government-backed BHIM UPI platform gained massive traction as well. According to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, growth in value of digital payments through BHIM UPI soared to 10,983 crore in FY 2017-18 from 695 crore in FY 2016-17.

Investment banking firm Credit Suisse predicts that India's digital payment space will grow to $1 billion by 2023. "Digital payments (in India) currently aggregate less than USD 200 billion, of which mobile is still at just USD 10 billion in financial year (FY) 2018 E (estimated). We estimate that the total digital payment market in India will grow to USD 1 trillion by FY23E, led by the growth in mobile payments," said the report.

Update on April 20, 2018: Facebook in a statement said it has no plans to launch payment service on Messenger for Indian users.

"There are currently no tests planned for recharges or peer-to-peer payments on Messenger in India," a Facebook spokesperson said.

As far as the mobile recharge option within Facebook goes, the company says the feature is actually part of Marketplace, the company's new platform where users can sell and buy items.

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First Published Date: 18 Apr, 07:09 PM IST
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