RBC Launches Facebook-based P2P Service for iPhone (Feb. 3, 2014)
Could Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) make a breakthrough with P2P by making it a cinch to send funds to Facebook friends? RBC today announced its new P2P service for Facebook customers is available on the iPhone, after rolling out initially to iPad users last month. RBC worked closely with Facebook to build the P2P system using Canada’s Interac e-Transfer debit payment system, creating what RBC says is North America’s first social network-based P2P bank payment service.
RBC customers may use the feature to send funds to Facebook friends within the RBC Canada mobile app without sharing other personal or financial information. Users select a friend among their Facebook contacts, select an account and the amount (based on the type of account) and include a message. Recipients get a message in their Facebook message inbox, directing them to log in to their own financial institution to deposit the funds. Until RBC introduced this service, sending an Interac e-Transfer required the recipient’s email address or a mobile phone number, according to the bank.
Facebook has 9.4 million Canadian users and the new feature provides a “meaningful service for RBC customers,” added Jordan Banks, managing director, Facebook Canada.
Combining P2P with a popular social networking platform and a trusted financial services brand could help ignite consumer interest in P2P, which so far has not generated much consumer demand, James Wester, research director, global payments, IDC Financial Insights, tells Paybefore. Because Canadian bank customers share access to Interac for debit payments, it solves part of the dilemma for P2P services requiring senders and recipients to be part of the same network, Wester says. “A big challenge for Facebook—and other social networks—is that people likely will see P2P as a financial service, not something to be trusted to Facebook. Thus it’s smart for Facebook to partner with a financial institution like RBC to give users a level of comfort about [indirectly] providing their financial information,” Wester says.