Japan’s Rakuten Bank has launched a service that enables users to send and receive money with Facebook friends but without needing to know the other person’s full account details.
The service enables money to be transferred to anyone on a user’s Facebook friend list who is also signed up to the bank’s app.
The Transfer by Facebook service is a first for Japan, the bank said.
Users log into their bank account via the bank’s app and select the person they wish to send money to from a list of Facebook friends listed in the app. The sender then inputs the amount to be transferred.
It is not necessary for the sender to know the account details of the recipient. In this sense, Rakuten is using Facebook for authentication in a similar way to other banks with users’ mobile numbers.
With the Rakuten service, notice of the cash transfer appears only on posts on Facebook that are restricted to sender and recipient.
Money can also be transferred via Facebook to those without a Rakuten Bank account.
“By accessing a URL on Facebook with the transfer notice, the recipient is able to specify a bank account for the money, and with that, the deposit procedure is complete,” said the bank.
One advantage of the new service over conventional bank transfers is that a short message (up to 50 characters) can accompany the transaction.
No transfer fee is charged for sending money to those holding Rakuten Bank accounts already linked to their Facebook account. If the recipient has a Rakuten Bank account which is not linked to their Facebook account there is a fee of JPY165 ($1.6) for the transfer.
The bank is one of a number of businesses within the Rakuten Group. The group also owns Viber, the popular messaging app.
Facebook itself has also been linked to the launch of money transfer services as a means to push the social network in emerging markets.