Word is spreading that Facebook is inching ever closer to unveiling its platform-specific ePayment service. While the money transfer service will have its roots in Ireland, the House of Zuckerberg hopes to expand the payment platform across Europe, eventually becoming the number one name in ePayments for the continent. According to the most conservative estimates, the social media behemoth is only a few weeks away from receiving the green flag from Ireland’s regulatory commission, upon receipt of which the service will go live.
Diversifying or Grasping at Straws?
This latest addition to Facebook’s menagerie of services marks the third major expansion of the big blue behemoth’s platform in as many months. In February, Facebook bought mobile messaging app WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. A month later, the firm announced that it would buy fledgling virtual reality firm Oculus Rift for $2 billion. To say that the company has been ambitious with its expansion would be a radical understatement.
Depending on your perspective, the Book’s acquisitions have either been a savvy string of moves aimed at diversifying the business or a wild, flailing attempt at garnering more revenue. Keep in mind, as of Q4 2013, the company was pulling in over $2.59 billion a quarter in revenue. Whether the rapid expansion of the company will capitalize on and grow those revenues or woefully water them down remains to be seen.
Do Consumers Trust Facebook Enough?
At least as far as this new payment service is concerned, many inside the industry think that Facebook may finally have bit off more than it can chew. While there’s no doubt that the company has a shot at making a lot of money through a money transfer service, an intangible, difficult to change sort of capital may sink the tech leader’s latest ship before it gets to sail: trust. The internet’s memory is long. Many of Facebook’s users will remember the privacy scandals that plagued the company in the past. If Zuckerberg and the gang can’t be trusted not to sell our photos and personal information, can we really trust them with our money?
“Facebook has been plagued with public privacy issues since its inception,” says Andreas Huttenrauch, Chief Digital Strategist at Globi Web Solutions. “How trustworthy does that make them as a payment platform?”
If you’re in Europe, will you use Facebook’s new ePayment service? Is trust an issue for you here?