Facebook banking

By on April 16, 2014

Facebook is playing with the idea of allowing users to pay each other through the site, in its latest move to try to get us to spend every waking hour of our life on the social network.

The company is closing in on getting regulatory approval in Ireland that would let users store money and pay others across Europe, according to various reports.

Facebook has also chatted up at least three London start-ups that offer online international money transfers – TransferWise, Moni Technologies, and Azimo. Adhering to its tradition of chucking money at things it wants, the company offered Azimo more than R100 million to give up one of its co-founders to become a Facebook business development director.

Allowing international payments would help Facebook on its way to facilitating services like migrant remittances, as it hungrily sniffs around abroad for new users while Western teenagers switch onto social networks sans parents. It fits neatly with Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative, a campaign to bring the internet to the five billion people currently without it (in the obvious hope that they’ll also become Facebook users).

The competition

Chinese internet company Tencent and e-commerce giant Alibaba are also adding mobile payment functions to their sites at the moment. Google, meanwhile, is expanding its services, which haven’t been picked up much yet by users. Internet companies’ race against time to get us to do things on their sites that aren’t just procrastinating continues apace.

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