Facebook Messenger has introduced the ability to send and receive money via in-app conversations to UK users for the first time.

Messenger users will now be able to add a payment card to their account, and then send and receive money directly from within conversation threads with contacts.

[Read more: How to make a Facebook Messenger video call]

Messenger payments

(Facebook)

The technology giant introduced the feature to users in the US in 2015, but this is the first time it has been expanded.

Messenger has more than 1.2 billion monthly users around the world.

[Read more: How do I download and install Facebook Messenger]

David Marcus, the head of Messenger, said introducing a tool to “socially” transfer small amounts of money had so far proved appealing.

“Our research shows the top reasons for sending money include celebrations, social and festive occasions; it’s those everyday moments we’re trying to make a little easier – we’ve seen that in the US most people use payments in Messenger to send less than 50 dollars at a time,” he said.

Messenger payments
(Facebook)

Facebook said it takes “extra steps” to protect payment information when using the new feature.

All credentials are encrypted and protected with “bank level security” and payments would be monitored by anti-fraud specialists. The social network also said it would work with users in any instances where unauthorised activity took place on their account.

As part of the feature’s introduction, Facebook has also launched M suggestions for payments into the Messenger app, which uses the app’s artificially intelligent virtual assistant M to identify when payment is being discussed in a conversation and present options to send or receive money.

Facebook said the payments feature would roll out to all Messenger users in the UK in the coming weeks.

[Read more: 8 Facebook Messenger tips]