Facebook is reportedly looking at e-money services; including the ability for people to make peer-to-peer money transfers and has already applied for an e-money license in Ireland. The move would allow Facebook to make online transfers using money that is stored on Facebook itself.
According to reports, Facebook has spoken to several consumer-payment companies, including TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo among others. Though, the social networking giant declined to comment on the report for now.
“My impression is that Facebook is still trying to get a sense of the market, and see whether it would suit them better going off and doing it themselves or to work in partnership with others,” Mike Laven, CEO of Currency Cloud, the London-based startup that powers payments at the back-end for all three of these companies, as well as several of their competitors. “I would be surprised if Facebook’s conversations were only limited to those three,” He added.
Facebook has offered Azimo $10 million to recruit a co-founder as a director of business development. Azimo’s CEO and co-founder, Michael Kent declined to comment on the news but said, “We talk to everyone and are lucky enough to get a bunch of interesting offers and approaches coming up although we prefer to keep those to ourselves. It would be very cool if Facebook and others got into money transfer, though, wouldn’t it? Could be truly transformational to an industry that has ripped off hard-working migrants for years.”
The move represents a challenge as well as a huge opportunity for Facebook. The networking giant's last quarterly earnings for Q4 2013 showed a total average revenue of $2.14 per user, but only $0.20 of the total came from non-advertising sources. It will also help Facebook generate revenue from Whatsapp which it acquired for $19 billion and has a strict 'no-ads' policy.