The French bank BCPE, which includes Banque Populaire and Caisses d'Epargne is one of France’s largest banks. It has teamed up with Twitter to offer simple person to person money transfers.
The initiative draws attention to the bank’s S-Money mobile payments unit. This feature already lets users transfer money over mobile phones using text messages.
The S-Money app lets French bank account holders with a French mobile number to send money to organisations that subscribe to its service. Twitter users need to link their Twitter usernames to their S-Money accounts and install the app.
To make a payment both the sender and recipient need to have the app and S-Money accounts linked. The sender then tweets to @SMoneyFR the recipient’s Twitter name, the amount, up to 500 Euros (about $638) and use the hashtag #envoyer (send).
The tweets are visible and so far, are of small sums of money as users test the system. Retweets are blocked by the system to protect the user.
The bank will charge companies and charities around one to two percent of the total transaction.
The system allows French customers to send money to a friend without knowing the recipient’s bank or account details.
Twitter acts as the connector between customers. It will not process payments, nor check identity.
In September the Rakuten bank in Japan launched its money transfer service using Facebook. Users could transfer money to anyone on their friends list.
Facebook has also indicated that it may use its messenger app to enable cash transfers between users.
Jean-Yves Forel, Groupe BPCE chief executive in charge of commercial banking and insurance said that Groupe BPCE "is the first banking group to offer individuals a payments solution where they can transfer money with a simple tweet."
With just a few taps you can complete your purchase.
Charities and non profit organisations could benefit from the ease of donating money.
However, unlike texting a number to pay using your phone, this method shows everyone who follows you on Twitter just how much, and who you donate to.
Twitter users could also use the service to pay for one- off payments like Taxi rides and bar bills.
The possibilities could extend across commerce as the system begins to be trusted.
It will be exciting to see how Twitter users use this payment system. Twitter has evolved into the platform it is through the actions of its users.
Rakuten and BPCE obviously see social networks as an extension of their current marketing activities.
Social activities have the potential to reach a different audience demographic than the current customers of the banks.
Customers who can see the value of secure payments over social networks will turn away from e-banking services and focus entirely on their social platforms.
Which is exactly what Facebook and Twitter want them to do.