Facebook is reportedly preparing to offer its own financial services as the company continues to expand beyond social networking. The Financial Times reports the company is set to gain approval in Europe for a system allowing users to pay each other with Facebook-backed e-money across the continent. The service could potentially compete with other apps such as Venmo or Square.
The new payment option could become official in the next few weeks, offering Facebook users a new way to store and spend money. The company would essentially be able to offer its own electronic units of money backed by Facebook. The social networking giant is also reportedly working with several startups in London to set up online and mobile money transfers for its e-money. The startups named by the Financial Times include TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo.
This wouldn’t be the first time Facebook has dabbled in e-money. The company previously offered Facebook Credits, which could be used to purchase app and games within the social network, though this feature is no longer available.
A new system allowing users to send each other payments without ever leaving Facebook’s ecosystem takes the idea a step forward however. It could potentially play an important part in the company’s future plans for Oculus Rift, allowing users to make purchases in real time in a futuristic virtual reality marketplace. Likewise, it might help Facebook monetize WhatsApp without adding advertisements; instead, it could take a cut of cash passed between users.