Banks in Singapore are working on a service that could soon allow customers to make payments using Facebook and Twitter usernames, reports Financial Times (FT).
The service would require account holders to register their social media profiles with their banks, and would work by allowing users to make payments by selecting the payee’s Facebook ID, instead of the age old method of using account numbers and sort codes.
According to an FT source, a pilot is being planned in the first quarter of 2017, and will be based on Singapore’s existing internal fund transfer system, which brings together 20 banks, and allows for “near instant” fund transfers.
The source said the move is intended towards making electronic transfers as “frictionless” as cash, and will incorporate a proxy ID system, using mobile phone numbers instead of bank accounts.
“We are building a system for the future with capabilities to store multiple proxy IDs” said the source. “This is will be a gradual change… people will start using mobile numbers and gradually move to other proxies.”
The FT noted Singapore’s plans are similar to the Paym mobile payments service launched in the UK two years ago, which enabled account holders from 17 of the country’s banks and building societies to make transfers through mobile phone numbers.
Indian banks are also reportedly experimenting with using social media identification, with the country’s Axis Ban app allowing account holders to transfer money via WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
In the US, Facebook users are also already able to transfer money to their friends via its instant messenger app, while Snapchat operates a similar service called Snapcash.