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SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook wants to be your new payment system. Will you trust it with your money?

On Tuesday, the social media giant unveiled a new payment system that will work across Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram in a direct challenge to Apple Pay and PayPal’s Venmo and in much the way WeChat, China’s “app for everything,” does.

With Facebook Pay, Facebook says users will be able to shop at merchants or send money or make donations to one another across its trio of apps in a move that even more deeply integrates those apps with Facebook’s main platform. Currently, users can only send money through Messenger, though the company is testing purchases on Instagram in the U.S.

Will you buy things or send money to friends using a Facebook payments system? Facebook is betting you will. (Photo: Getty Images)

Whether to use Facebook Pay or not is up to the users of its platforms, the company says. 

“You can set up Facebook Pay app-by-app or choose to set it up for use across apps (where available). That means we won’t automatically set up Facebook Pay across the apps you are active on, unless you choose to do so,” Erin Egan, vice president and chief privacy officer, public policy, said in a statement.

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Facebook says it has put in place measures such as fraud detection, a personalized PIN, and the biometrics you use on your device to help guard against unauthorized transactions. Consumers should note that data collected from transactions on Facebook Pay will help the company deliver more targeted content and ads. 

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made clear his ambitions to merge all three messaging apps, a move that would make the Silicon Valley company, which is under growing antitrust scrutiny, more difficult to pry apart. 

The move to launch Facebook Pay comes as Facebook is facing pushback from lawmakers and regulators over plans to launch its own digital currency Libra.

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