Talking tech since 2003

A Financial Times article from this past weekend reports that Facebook is close to launching a digital financial service, becoming the latest tech company to try and be your all-in-one e-wallet. According to the post, Facebook is “only weeks away” from gaining the required regulatory approvals in Ireland to launch the service, which would allow users to set up digital wallets on their accounts. It seems likely that the company is making similar arrangements to launch programs in other territories around the world.

Those digital wallets could be used to send or receive money to or from other Facebook users, or to spend that money at cooperating locations throughout Europe, says the post. It also stands to reason that users will be able to spend money with their Facebook accounts while shopping online via their mobile devices—so long as the retailers participate. Considering how many applications allow you to log in with your Facebook or Google accounts in lieu of setting up new, site-specific accounts, it’s only a quick hop to allow for mobile payments through Facebook.

Of course, there are questions as to whether or not Facebook will have any more luck at this than Google has. Google launched its Wallet app way back in 2011, and even today still struggles to find much in the way of widespread adoption, despite Google boasting an enormous user base via its Gmail, Chrome, and Drive services. Paypal has its own competing mobile payments app, while third parties like Coin look to crack the digital payments nut with new devices. In short, tech companies are still trying to figure out how to get users to trust them with their money and banking information. So why should Facebook believe it’ll have any more luck?

I’m not sure I have an answer to that, but I can hazard a guess. Google offers lots of services, and many of them work really well. But integrating them all into your life does take a slight bit of technical know-how. Facebook, meanwhile, is more or less “computers for dummies.” Set up your account, find some friends—boom, you’re on a social network. And since it’s got such a huge user base that already shares tons of personal details, it’s possible that it can streamline the process of setting up a digital wallet for those who aren’t necessarily technically savvy.

So if this report is true, can Facebook convince its users that setting up a digital wallet is in their best interests?

[Source: Financial Times via The Next Web]

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