As momentum builds behind social payments, UK remittance firm Azimo is plugging its money transfer services deep into the biggest social media platform in the planet: Facebook.
More specifically, Azimo is integrating with the social media behemoth’s Messenger service, which now has 1bn monthly users, as it looks to make international money transfer as easy as sending a message.
Azimo is, it says, the first money transfer service to integrate with Messenger in this way.
“This is about making money transfer better. It brings peace of mind to both you as a sender and your friends and family as recipients,” says co-founder and general manager Marta Krupinska.
“The recipient can guarantee that their details are correct, the sender doesn’t have to worry about entering the wrong numbers or hassling their recipient for further information. Everyone wins!”
How does it work?
> Users open the Azimo app, choose to request recipient details via Messenger and send the message.
> The recipient then gets a Facebook message, is prompted to fill in the details and then replies.
> The sender receives the reply, confirms payments and the money moves.
Senders don’t need to know their friend or family member’s bank details, they just need to be a Facebook contact, nor do they need to know how they want to pick up the cash – that’s all taken care of on the receive side.
If this sounds familiar it’s because Azimo started talking about Facebook integration back in 2013 when it launched a beta version to test the feature. Since then the firm says it has been working on perfecting the tool for full release.
Timing is also important. Finance is an inherently social industry with hundreds of millions of connections between people, businesses and banks every second around the globe and people have been talking about the potential for social media to play an integral role in the way money moves for years.
Now, that talk is coming to fruition as, after some false starts, momentum begins to build behind social payments.
The explosive growth of P2P money transfer firm Venmo and companies like Circle coming down the line in the US, plus initiatives from the banks like Swish in Sweden prove there is a demand for better ways to send money between people.
Meanwhile in Asia, social payments via social media are well established and the massive growth of transaction volumes happening on platforms such as Line and WeChat points to the next evolution of payments globally.
Facebook wants a piece of the action and is positioning Messenger to play a central role in payments – and pretty much every other industry. Fintech companies are already getting on board via its recently-announced Messenger Platform, which is designed to let companies build customer services using chat bots.
Facebook said at the time that the bots could enable anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates to customised comms like receipts and shipping notifications.
Azimo announced earlier this year that it is working on a Messenger bot that will be able to assist users while they are making payments to loved ones and points to the growing role of social media and mobile in the world of finance.
Meanwhile AJ Bell announcing its Youinvest investment platform’s integration with Facebook Messenger, completing its first live trade in June.