Need to order takeout, call for a car, or refill your subway pass from your phone? Apps like this one are making it easier.
While no one has developed a way to make money by talking to bots, there seems to be an increasing number of platforms that will allow you to spend your hard-earned cash. The latest to join the fray is messaging app Telegram, whose new update allows users to make and accept payments via Telegram Bots. Telegram made its announcement in new blog posts directed both to bot developers and the general public, introducing yet another way to ensure that you never leave the messaging app.
“If you have Telegram 4.0 (or newer) installed, you can order goods or services from bots that offer them,” Telegram wrote in one announcement. “These bots may now add a Pay button to their messages. When you tap Pay, you’ll be asked to fill in your credit card and shipping information and confirm the payment. Then you get what you paid for.”
At launch, Telegram Bots already supports Apple Pay, which promises an entirely frictionless transaction process. You can, however, opt to input your credit card information, and if you have 2-Step Verification turned on in your account (as you should), you can save that card for future purchases.
You can already test out the new payment feature by making use of the @TelegramDonate bot.
“Telegram is an open platform, so bot developers can implement the necessary APIs and accept payments from users starting right now, without lengthy approval dramas,” the app notes. “If you’re a bot developer, check out the docs immediately.”
At present, most of the payments processed on the platform are handled by Stripe, but Telegram notes that its new bot feature serves as a “platform for payment providers all over the world.” Indeed, once bot developers get to work, they can choose from among the entire smorgasbord of payment providers, and Telegram says that within the next few days, payments will be made available to developers in over 190 other countries with various processors like RazorPay, FlutterWave, and PaymentWall.
Be warned though, Telegram stresses that it’s only the messenger when it comes to your payments. “It is impossible for Telegram to handle complaints or cashbacks — any disputed payments are the responsibility of the bot developers, payment providers, and banks that participated in the exchange,” the blog post reads. But by the same token, Telegram says that the app neither stores nor is able to access any sensitive data. And it doesn’t take a commission from payments, or profit from transactions either.