Share the wealth: Facebook reportedly thinking payments

Facebook has gotten many of us to open up about our lives and loves and everything in between. It may now want us to open up our wallets, too. The Financial Times reports that the company is nearing approval to process mobile payments in the U.K.

It’s not clear how widespread such a service would be, or whether it would extend to the U.S., but some are already dubbing the social network Facebank. What might that mean for the company and other tech companies?

It could put more money in Facebook’s own piggy bank, for one thing. It could boost the company’s ad revenue, because it could provide even more information about its users — their actual spending habits beyond just the retailers whose pages they’ve Liked. Also, the company could take a cut of each transaction, as other payment processors do.

Competitors, of course, include PayPal, which has quite a head start — although as Heather Somerville reports, some analysts say an upcoming mobile-wallet offering from Apple could be a threat to it. There’s also Google, whose efforts include Google Wallet, plus a new push to get people to consider Gmail for moving money. Also, the many other companies hungry to take a piece of the payments pie: Square, retailers themselves, credit-card providers and financial institutions.


Photo from Reuters archives


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