Facebook plans mobile payment services

Facebook is preparing to join the mobile payments race with remittances and electronic money services on the social network, the Financial Times reported, citing several sources.

Facebook plans mobile payment services

The company is close to obtaining approval from the Central Bank of Ireland to start a service that would allow users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange with others, the sources said.

The Central Bank declined to comment, while Facebook was not immediately available for comment.

The company would be the first to make use of the e-money directive that was transposed into law in 2011.

The company could then offer these services across Europe by passporting, a regulatory mechanism that allows banks and insurance companies to be regulated in one market and operate in another.

Facebook has also had partnership talks with at least three London start-ups — TransferWise, Moni Technologies, and Azimo — that offer online and mobile international money transfer services, three people involved in the discussions told the newspaper.

Telecom groups, retailers and banks are all trying to secure a pie of global mobile payments, which is predicted to grow rapidly in the next few years.

Vodafone brought its mobile money transfer service M-Pesa to Romania last month, following its success in Africa, and is likely to expand the service in eastern and central Europe.

Google’s head of payments recently reiterated commitment to the struggling Google Wallet and mobile payments service.

The company had allowed users to send money last year as an email attachment.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in January that the company’s interest in mobile payments was a reason for creating the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in its iPhone 5S smartphone.

Global mobile transactions are expected to grow at an average 35% per year between 2012 and 2017, according to a report by research firm Gartner.

The June 2013 report forecast a $721bn (€521bn) market with more than 450m users by 2017.

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