Facebook (FB) is only “weeks away” from obtaining regulatory approval to provide payments and remittance services in Europe, according to a new report in the The Financial Times.
The paper’s sources claim that the social networking giant is awaiting authorisation from Ireland’s central bank that would allow users to store cash as an “e-money” which could then be exchanged or used to make payments. The money transfer service would be accepted throughout Europe via a process known as “passporting”, the report said, adding that the company is looking into signing partnerships deals with at least three London start-ups that offer international money transfer services online and via smartphones.
According to the FT, the launch of “e-money” is designed to help Facebook increase its presence in emerging markets, a growing focus for the company.
“Facebook wants to become a utility in the developing world, and remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion,” a person familiar with the matter said to the FT.
Facebook already supports transactions through its site. In 2013, the company facilitated $2.1 billion worth of them.
FB is up 32 cents, or 0.55%, at $58.85 in pre-market trading Monday.