Twitter offers bank transfers

16 October 2014

PARIS: Groupe BPCE, one of the largest banks in France, has joined forces with social network Twitter to allow its customers to make financial transactions via tweets.

The service will be run by S-Money, the bank's mobile payments division, enabling Twitter users to link their accounts to BPCE's existing money transfer service.

Although the arrangement is not a formal partnership, Twitter is allowing BPCE to incorporate its social network and it forms part of Twitter's wider aim of exploring new revenue streams, the New York Times reported.

Just last month, it started testing a "buy" button on tweets sent by selected brands, musicians and non-profit organisations in the US.

Under the agreement with BPCE, customers will be able to transfer up to €500, or about $635, via tweets but the service will be available only to those with French bank accounts and all of the Twitter messages will be open to public view.

The free service will be used mostly for crowdfunding, charity fundraising and pooled payments, such as gifts for friends, said Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money, in an interview with Bloomberg.

He said it will be "easy, rapid, secure and free of charge" and that retweets will be blocked for security reasons.

S-Money currently has about 100,000 users in France and Chatillon is hopeful that the Twitter facility will help to expand the product's appeal, especially among younger users.

Twitter is not the first social network to expand into banking services. Rakuten Bank in Japan offers a similar service via Facebook and Apple announced plans last month for a mobile payments service via its new iPhone 6.

The development comes as Euromonitor International, the research firm, predicts that the increasing sophistication of mobile banking apps and their rapid uptake by consumers could soon take mobile payments mainstream.

Writing in Mobile Payments Today, Michelle Evans, a senior analyst at Euromonitor, said the UK, in particular, has emerged as a "hotbed for mobile payments".

Euromonitor estimates that UK consumers, on a per capita basis, will spend $824 via mobile payments in 2014, with almost 80% coming from purchases made on tablets.

Data sourced from New York Times, Bloomberg, Mobile Payments Today; additional content by Warc staff