According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been courting large US banks to convince them to integrate with its messaging platform. Facebook is trying to convince banks that moving some of their services into Messenger would help them connect with over a billion users digitally and improve those services.
Some of the services that have been mentioned include the ability for users to check their account balances, fraud alerts, and automated customer service.
In exchange, Facebook asked to be supplied with banking data on its users, namely, how they spend money with their debit and credit cards.
This kind of insight would also help Facebook in its ecommerce push, as the social media giant continues to try to turn its messaging platform into a hub for ecommerce and customer service.
Drolly typical of Facebook, the social media giant has also asked for information regarding purchases made with debit and credit cards outside of Messenger.
Facebook said that the data would not be shared with marketers or used for ad-targeting.
But Facebook’s guarantee is unlikely to convince a lot of people. Users would be understandably reluctant to link their private finances to their social media profiles, particularly on Facebook, considering the social media giant’s recurrent privacy scandals.
The targeted banks include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and U.S. Bancorp. There hasn’t been any indication that any of the financial institutions is likely to pursue such an arrangement with Facebook. But according to the Washington Post, “several unnamed banks and credit card companies have voiced interest in teaming up with the social network, even proposing their own potential deals.”
Facebook already has deals with several financial services providers, including one with American Express, which allows users to contact company representatives, another with PayPal, which allows PayPal users to send money through Messenger, and one with Mastercard, which allows cardholders to place orders from certain merchants through Messenger.
The news from Facebook is part of a larger trend: Alphabet and Amazon are said to have sought to partner with banks, asking for data in exchange for providing certain banking services on their assistants, Google Assistant and Alexa. Apple and Google are also fighting on the mobile-payment front.
Banks remain careful but have been keen to listen to such offers as they seek to capture a bigger share in a still-maturing mobile commerce landscape.