The number of Facebook users has exploded over the past several years, and along with that growth has come an unparalleled number of applications that tie in to Facebook, which in turn helps Facebook make money. One glaring omission from the social media giant’s landscape, however, has been an inability to send money from one user to another. Now, that is about to change, thanks to a new startup called Azimo, The Telegraph is reporting. Also reporting on the development is TechCrunch, who says that the new service is geared towards challenging money-transfer giants Western Union and Moneygram.
While the original initiative is aimed, the Telegraph says, at helping people transfer money between countries, it could just as easily catch on with people who wish to make online transfers similar in fashion to the way PayPal works, i.e., within the same country, which means Azimo is treading on their turf as well.
For several years, customers have been complaining about the high fees traditional money exchangers have charged, for what in essence, is a relatively cost free transaction to the exchanger. The result has been high profits for the exchangers and bad feelings for customers. Into that breach steps Azimo, who TechCrunch says, has been working on its product for quite some time.
It would take a lot of time, because in order for such a service to work, there has to be at least three major partners that agree to work together-banks, social networks, and consumers. The first two have apparently been hammered out. Whether consumers will sign on, remains to be seen.
At any rate, it will work like this The Telegraph says, a person that wishes to transfer money to another person, sends them a message indicating they would like to do so. The other person can decline, or agree. If they agree they have to set up an account with Azimo (as does the sender of course). Once that happens, the sender can simply tell Azimo, via their account, who they want to send money to, and how much. Azimo takes care of the rest, which means removing funds from the sender account and adding it to the receiver account. All of this happens via a Facebook app, which if successful would certainly mark the start of something truly useful within Facebook apps, as compared to the hundreds, if not thousands of silly games that users are now offered.
Such a service will not come free of course, Azimo plans to charge a flat £5 (about $7) fee per transaction.