Facebook may soon become something more than a social networking website, as new reports claim that the company is looking to launch a payment service in the coming months. According to a report from the Financial Times, the website which went public in 2012 is now working on a money payment and storage system, similar to existing ones like Paypal.
This move is not that surprising as many tech giants have entered the mobile payment industry recently including Chinese internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Given that Facebook has billions of users worldwide; a uniform global payment system would make things a lot easier for its users.
As usual, Facebook has not officially commented on this rumor but the report adds that the service could start in the next few weeks itself. According to the report, Facebook is just a few weeks away from getting the regulatory approval for starting money storage and payment service in Ireland and once it gets this approval, the company can expand its coverage to the whole of Europe.
The money on the website will be called as ‘e-money’ and will represent a claim against the social networking giant. The process will be officially known as ‘passporting’ and can be used for making payments all over Europe.
However, Facebook is not exactly targeting developed markets which already have a well-developed financial payment system. In fact, people familiar with the matter say that the website is keen to integrate this new system in the developing markets where it can transform into something that’s an important part of the money market. So, countries like China and India should be on its list. But that does not mean this service won’t come to US.
“Remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion,” said a person who knows about Facebook’s plans to the Times.
So, the company could actually take advantage of its billions of users to expand its reach into new sectors.
For the past few years, Facebook has been trying hard to come up with new stuff, something different than social networking to expand its portfolio. In this regard the company has acquired many new startups and has released things like the Facebook phone, Facebook launcher etc.
The company has a lot of money at hand, especially since it went public two years back and this maybe one of its moves to improve the value of the investment of its shareholders.
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