Facebook wants to be more than just your favorite social networking destination. It wants to be your central destination for all things essential. This includes online banking. There are sources reporting that Facebook is seriously considering expanding its portfolio with the offering of financial services. Apparently it is testing the waters by helping banks set up services that allow consumers to make transactions directly through the social platform.
The Integrated Web Experience
Consumers these days are suckers for convenience. Why do you think online banking is so popular? It is much easier to handle important financial matters from the comfort of your own home than it is to leave the house, travel to your local branch, and wait in line to be seen. The convenience factor makes banking on Facebook a very attractive option. If the consumer is already spending a lot of time on the social network and can connect with their bank through something like a brand page, why wouldn’t they? Not everyone will feel comfortable doing this, but this concept would likely appeal to more people than one might think.
Banking on a busy social network may seem like risky business, but consumers should feel as secure as they would through Facebook as they do when going directly to their bank’s website. For example, in the upcoming trial run, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank will be ensuring protection by securing transactions with the same authentication system its customers are already using through its web and mobile platforms. Some users may also be worried about the privacy of their transactions, but Facebook is reportedly pushing for banks to let their customers know that sensitive information will not be shared. At the same time, it would give consumers and banks the chance to connect on a social level, which is great for relationships.
There would be some disadvantages to banking on Facebook, and the high risk of spam is one of the most serious. Commonwealth Bank will be allowing customers to pay bills as well as send money to friends via the social network. With a Facebook instant messaging and email system now in place, this could easily lead to a situation where a spammer poses as a friend in attempt to swindle money out of a generous user. There could be trouble on the horizon, but not to the level where it stops this thing from happening. While spam is a threat in virtually every internet channel, a little policing can see that it doesn’t become a huge problem.
From the looks of it, neither Facebook nor Commonwealth Bank will finalize this new partnership until they are sure it can be done in safe and secure fashion. This would be a good thing because it may take some people a while to warm up to the idea. If Facebook is able to pull off something of this magnitude, it could mean big things for the future.