Is Facebook getting into the electronic money business? According to a report by Financial Times, the social network is “weeks away” from Ireland granting it regulatory approval to launch a service that would allow users to store, pay with, and exchange money with other users.
Facebook confirmed last August that it would test a mobile payments product, saying at the time that Facebook users who had previously supplied their credit-card information would be able to complete purchases on partnering apps without being required to re-enter their billing details.
According to FT, should the approval be granted, the electronic currency would be valid throughout Europe, due to a process called passporting.
Facebook’s European headquarters are in Dublin.
FT reported that Facebook has also held discussions with three London-based startups that offer international money-transfer services via the Web and mobile: TransferWise, Moni Technologies, and Azimo, adding that the social network offered to pay Azimo $10 million to hire one of its co-founders as a director of business development.
A source familiar with Facebook’s strategy told FT:
Facebook wants to become a utility in the developing world, and remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion.
Readers: What do you think Facebook’s goals are in pursuing this initiative?
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