Facebook is set to launch a payments feature in its Messenger app which will allow friends to send money to each other, according to a software hack carried out by a Stanford University student.
Using a tool called Cycript, computer science major Andrew Aude was able to take a look at unpublished code being worked on by the Facebook team, which would allow users to send money to each other as easily as they would a photo.
It follows hints from the social media giant that it is looking to push into the mobile payment space. On its second-quarter earnings call CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was doing work on payments, and the former president of PayPal was recently hired in another sign the Menlo Park, CA-based company is serious about the sector.
Aude's screenshot shows code enabling Facebook users to add a debit card to their account to make a payment. Aude told TechCrunch that users would be able to hit one button and then type in the amount they wanted to send. Facebook would keep the transaction private and not publish anything onto the news feed, according to Aude. He added that the feature could be rolled out within the next few months.
Facebook said it did not comment on rumor or speculation.
It is unknown whether Facebook would charge for this feature, but analysts suggested the move was key to keeping users in the social media's ecosystem.
"For Facebook it is really about making sure people are staying engaged with its apps and services and it doesn't want to put people off its products," Jack Kent, senior mobile analyst at IHS, told CNBC by phone. "Everything it does is to keep users within the Facebook world."
The code for a payments system within Facebook was first uncovered by security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski last month, but Aude took it one step further by accessing it through the Cycript tool. Cycript allows users to modify and play with the code in apps.