The app that made its name by enabling people to share naked selfies without fear of them being stored or shared - only for it to suffer leaks of images and account holders' details - has gone live with a peer-to-peer cash feature.
In a partnership with Jack Dorsey's Square, which provides P2P payments via email and mobile point-of-sale solutions in the US, Snapchat users can now store debit card details and pay in their chat window simply by adding a '$' sign to the message.
Having reportedly achieved a $10bn valuation after raising funds from California's renowned tech investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Snapchat is now under pressure to monetise its reported 100m users worldwide.
Given that the company has started showing ads to its users, while also knowing nothing about them beyond username, IP, volunteered age, phone number, and some address book details, this deal presents a huge data opportunity for Snapchat. Snapcash is initially available to Snapchatters in the US who have a debit card and are 18 or older.
Users have taken to Snapchat's Tumblr to voice some early concerns:
The peer-to-peer payments space is clearly a battleground for chat apps worldwide, with China's WeChat the only service to have gone live to date. Facebook and Twitter have both been trying to perfect payments platforms for some time, with recent evidence suggesting Facebook has a P2P option ready to go live in Messenger.
South Korea's KakaoTalk and Japan's LINE are both expected to launch rival P2P payments services by the end of the year.