Facebook (FB) employs several safeguards to protect your money and financial information when you send funds through its services. Like anything online, however, there remains a small chance that your safety may become compromised.

Cybercriminals and hackers can be ingenious, and that has led to numerous online security breaches at big companies. Facebook employs some of the brightest minds in cybersecurity to keep its users safe. However, a recent Facebook security breach exposed the personal information of an estimated 50 million users and has raised some doubts about Facebook's ability to protect its customers' data.

Key Takeaways

  • Facebook allows users to send and receive money through the Messenger app, free of charge.
  • Facebook's software plays the role of financial middleman between the sender and the receiver.
  • The company's software is also set up to provide security and protection from hackers.
  • Even with good security, users need to be proactive, using password protection on all devices and installing antivirus software.

How Sending Money on Facebook Works

Facebook offers a feature that allows users to send and receive money through the site's popular Messenger app. To send money through Facebook, a user opens a Messenger conversation with a friend and clicks the dollar sign icon. From there, the user enters their debit card number or PayPal information, which may be stored in the app for future use. From there, the user inputs the amount that they want to send and submits it. Facebook's software facilitates the money transfer, acting as a conduit between the user's bank and another bank for the payee. The software also gives the transaction extra layers of security to prevent hackers from compromising either party's financial information. (For related reading, see "How Sending Money on Facebook Works")

1.3 billion

The number of people using Messenger monthly, according to Facebook data.

Facebook's Security Measures

Facebook maintains a reputation for having very good security and privacy infrastructure. With a sensitive service like this, however, many users fear its security features may need to be further developed.

Whether to send money or simply to browse and socialize, the connection is encrypted by Facebook. Moreover, the site uses an additional layer of encryption for financial information submitted through the send money app. Users who seek even more security can require a personal identification number to send money; this prevents fraudulent transactions if an unauthorized user gets his hands on your computer or mobile device. Another option specific to iPhone and iPad users is Touch or Face ID. With these security options, the device analyzes your fingerprint or facial features to ensure you are authorized to send money.

To fund payments through Messenger, you must have a bank-issued debit card, a credit card, or a Facebook gift card.

Risks of Sending Money Online

Because this is the Internet, no information is ever 100% safe, regardless of the security measures in place. Several large-scale hacking incidents have made some consumers wary of making financial transactions using their phone's apps.

Hackers infamously compromised the email server of Sony Pictures ahead of the release of The Interview, a comedy movie in which characters plot to assassinate dictator Kim Jong-un. The studio was so unnerved by the incident, not to mention the accompanying threats, it decided to delay the movie's release.

While such high-profile incidents understandably make Internet users nervous, the fact remains that the biggest security threat to your information online comes from failing to secure your personal devices, not from remote hackers. Password-protecting your computer and mobile devices helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing them and wreaking havoc. Installing a robust antivirus or anti-malware program enables you to detect threats such as keystroke loggers, which record the keystrokes you make to a log file that gets sent to an unauthorized third party.