It’s been a long time since Facebook was just a social media platform, and now the empire is looking to expand into yet another field. The Financial Times reports that Facebook is just weeks from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland to offer services that would let users store their money, as well as pay and exchange that money with other users. Facebook would become an “e-money” institution, making the virtual currency valid throughout Europe.
Facebook has discussed partnering with financial start-ups in London, digging deeper into the European economy, but the long-term goal appears to integrating the new services within developing countries.
“Facebook wants to become a utility in the developing world, and remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion,” one source told the Financial Times.
Facebook already has a hand in financial transactions, taking a cut of any in-app purchases developers charge their customers, but these fees only make up about 10% of Facebook’s revenues. If the Internet conglomerate could become a stable financial force in developing markets, it stands to reason that a strategic shift will take place from within.
Facebook’s diversification is no secret — from massive acquisitions to frightening technological advancements, the company has been expanding at a rapid rate over the past several years. Facebook declined to comment on the matter of a financial service in Europe, but it won’t come as much of a surprise if (and when) it does launch.