Facebook has become more than a way to creep your high school crush (or scroll through a seemingly endless supply of bitstrips). Now, you can use the social media platform to send money e-transfers.
RBC is the first financial institution in North America to allow clients to e-transfer money using Facebook Messenger, a trend apt to gain traction given the constantly expanding influence of social media.
“We know social media is hugely popular and our clients are avid Facebook users,” says Doug Collins, vice-president of Payment and Banking Services at RBC. “(We have) always been committed to giving our customers choice to manage their finances and payments – and that won’t change with emerging technologies. In fact, it will only increase the number of options we can provide.”
Money transfers are made through the RBC Canada app and can be sent to anyone on the user’s contact list in a similar manner to the way they send e-mail transfers.
Gamers Need Not Apply
However, the new service won’t allow users to pay for Facebook platform gaming - perhaps a good thing, considering how addictive pay-for-play games like Farmville and Candy Crush prove to be.
“This is strictly a social person-to-person money transfer capability,” says Collins. “Meaning if I owe my friend for dinner, rather than getting the cash, I can send the Interac e-Transfer message using Facebook and they can deposit it directly to their bank account.”
Be Social - And Safe
Of course, there’s always the question of fraud, given social media’s reputation as a prime platform for nefarious scams and identity theft.
“This capability is powered by RBC Secure Cloud, meaning sensitive client data will remain with RBC rather than putting it on the device where it is vulnerable,” says Collins adding that the shared security question you create with the recipient means only he or she can access the money you send.
“Plus you're protected by the RBC Online Banking Security Guarantee,” he adds. “(Which means) if an unauthorized transaction is conducted through your RBC Online Banking service, you will be 100% reimbursed for any resulting losses to those accounts.”
At the moment, the service is only available on the iPad but RBC has plans to release it for the iPhone in February and follow up on other devices shortly thereafter.
The company has also added an altruistic spin on the new offering, donating $1 for every Interac e-transfer messaged via Facebook to Kids Help Phone (up to $100,000).
“Every day, 9.4 million Canadians use Facebook on their mobile device to connect with people they care about, and this new app provides a meaningful service for RBC customers," says Jordan Banks, global head of Vertical Strategy and managing director of Facebook Canada.