Some of you may like using things like PayPal, where you set up an internet account and pay over the internet using money in there. No credit cards are at risk, and you can control the amount of money you put into your account. Just be sure not to leave too much in there, and even if you’re hacked your finances will still be very safe.
That may not be an accurate depiction of what PayPal does, since I don’t use it much, but it sounds similar to what Facebook is planning with its new venture, the e-money service.
The gist of this service is that users of Facebook can store money in their accounts and use it to pay others, turning Facebook into a kind of eBay (though who says it isn’t already right now?). You can sell your merchandise on FB, get Friends to buy it from you, and the transaction is done without the need to meet face to face or know sensitive information. Businesses with Pages on Facebook can make use of this service too.
A lot of people reading this right now may think that Facebook has just gone one step further into excess. It’s interfering with our money matters now? This is especially in light of many youngsters in the West boycotting it. However, the article argues that it will take much better in Asia, where people are still pretty accepting and trusting of Facebook and technology in general. I’m not too sure if this means Singapore, but it’s true that I do use Facebook a lot, as do my friends. However, in Japan, they don’t use Facebook very much, and Twitter is their preferred medium. And of course China has banned Facebook in its country.
Speaking of China, much of the basis of the article’s optimism is that China has a similar system that is working. China has a Weixin app by Tencent that can be used to purchase goods using a smartphone, and it’s taking the nation by storm. Generally, though, I would say that China’s initiatives face a lot more support than can be said for other initiatives in the rest of the world. For one, China is a large united market that is loyal and open-minded towards national ventures.
In any case, the article also included a graph that showed credit card and banking penetration in some Asian countries. Singapore registered 37% in credit card and a whopping 98% banking penetration, making it the most financially savvy country, whereas Malaysia only has 12% credit card and 66% banking penetration. And it’s already second in credit card penetration and third in banking among the group of countries. So does this mean Singaporeans will be less enthusiastic towards the scheme? Or will owning credit cards and bank accounts actually make us more receptive towards the idea of keeping money in different accounts for payment purposes?
By the way, I got really distracted by the header image. The person in the photograph has got to be a woman, right?
Food for thought, coming from here: http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/04/18/a-facebook-e-money-service-could-be-a-big-hit-in-asia/