Social networking site Facebook is just ‘weeks away’ from obtaining an electronic money (e-money) licence that would allow it to offer payment services to European users, according to reports.
The social network is said to awaiting authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland – the country in which Facebook runs its European operations – to offer users money storage, transfers between friends and payment facilities on the site, reports the
Last August, Facebook confirmed that it was testing a mobile payments feature in, a move that it described as helping it explore how it could help its app partners provide a simpler commerce experience.
The feature would likely be welcomed by e-commerce companies as it would remove the need to complete credit card details and delivery address forms, which can prove problematic to complete on a mobile phone.
The product could also increase the amount of direct sales Facebook advertising produces. The social network has faced criticisms for not doing more to prove the return on investment from advertising on its site to marketers, although many now believe that Facebook fan engagement can drive sizeable uplifts in sentiment, engagement and brand loyalty.
If the payments service moves beyond test stage, Facebook could also be able to provide brands with insights into consumers’ shopping habits. Such services could also assist it efforts to expand into emerging markets (EMs), where many people do not have bank accounts but own mobile phones.
Until 2012 Facebook had its own currency in the form of credits, but abandoned the system in favour of users’ own currencies that they can use in exchange for virtual goods.
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