Facebook wants to be more than a social network — it is planning to facilitate financial services in the form of electronic money and remittances, the Financial Times reports (as spotted first by Benedict Evans).
The report cites sources as saying that Facebook is weeks away from getting regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that lets users store money on Facebook and use it to pay others — what’s known as “e-money”. This means that Facebook will be able to issue units of stored monetary value that represent a claim against the company, and the e-money can be used throughout Europe in a process known as “passporting”.
Facebook is also said to have had talks with at least three London startups offering international money transfer services online and via mobile: TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo.
A Facebook spokesperson tells TNW that it is “not commenting on rumor or speculation.”
E-money and remittances would help Facebook be more relevant in emerging markets and build up its momentum to push into these markets. Last week, for example, Facebook passed 100 million users in India. Already, Chinese Internet giants including Alibaba and Tencent have rolled out mobile payment initiatives as they seek to tap on e-commerce by replacing traditional payment methods to ease the friction of paying without bank-issued credit cards.
➤ Facebook targets financial services [Financial Times]