The impact social media has on our lives today cannot be overemphasized. Social networks have become part of daily life to a point where people can no longer do without them.
Today, opening a social network app on a mobile device almost become an automatic and second nature for most people. It has changed how people interact, socialize, consume, promote and sell products.
Many people nowadays use social media to share a wide range of content, read news, communicate with friends and families, check out the latest happenings both locally and internationally, and find new partakers in various industries such as entertainment, politics, etc.
In other words, social media has significantly taken over many people’s lives. Statista released figures of the leading social networks in the world based on the number of active users on monthly basis. Some of the figures are as follows:
- Facebook – 1.59 trillion monthly active users
- WhatsApp – 1 billion monthly active users
- Facebook Messenger – 900 million monthly active users
- Tencent QQ – 853 million monthly active users
- WeChat – 697 million active users.
From these figures, it is evident that social networking has become a crucial part of our lives. The figures also show the need and importance of corporates being active on various trending social networks.
In response, social media platforms and internet giants are expanding their products and services. They are providing functionalities besides funny clips and graphics interchange format (GIF) files.
In the finance and banking industry, various products in the market already hint at an upcoming new era of social networks.
Some of these products are: Snapchat’s Snapcash, integrated payment solution of WeChat, Facebook Pay, and Kakao Talk’s Kakao Pay. In the near future, people may be able to use their social network apps to access their bank accounts as well as make online transactions.
Singaporean Fastacash, a Southeast Asia-based fintech company, has created and launched a social payment technology portal that allows users, located in any part of the world, to make payments across any messaging and social channel. The portal is now connecting the social and the financial worlds, along with the individuals in them.
Fastacash also partnered with local financial services companies and banks. Through these partnerships, the company has been able to launch its operations in other countries including Singapore, India, Vietnam, Russia and Indonesia.
Besides social payments, chatbots also emerged as a new trend that is expected to disrupt the banking industry. Banks are already looking for ways they can use Facebook Messenger chatbots in providing automated banking services.
Absa Group (aka Barclays Africa) has already launched Facebook’s ChatBanking. The new tool allows customers to complete banking transactions on their social media platforms.
Previously, the bank launched Absa ChatBanking on Twitter, a tool that allows customers to check their transactional account’s “available and actual” balance, buy data or airtime for a registered cellphone, and get a mini-statement showing the latest account transactions.
Tochka Bank, a Russia-based bank, has also released a Facebook banking chatbot. Just like ChatBanking of Absa, this tool allows customers to access their accounts, use geolocation to find nearby ATMs, contact customer support, make calls to the bank and use Facebook’s messaging app to make payments.
A recent report released by Financial Times shows that Singaporean banks are presently working together. They are developing a new service which will allow clients to use their Twitter usernames and Facebook IDs when making payments.
With this new system, account holders will be required to register identities of their social media with their banks, after which they will be able to transfer money electronically between themselves. The traditional sort code and account number will not be required.
This service provision will be based on the current internal fund transfer system (FAST) of Singapore, which combines 20 banks. A pilot service of this project is expected to be launched within first quarter of 2017.
In addition to day-to-day banking needs, there are other financial services firms, such as AJ Bell and Personetics, that are focused on utilizing Facebook chatbots for personalized financial management and trading services.
AJ Bell, a fund supermarket in UK is targeting millennials with an innovative trading service. It will allow clients to use Facebook Messenger when buying and selling shares.
In May of this year, Personetics, a personalized digital management solutions provider, introduced its Personetics Anywhere chatbot. The tool allows bank clients to get personalized guidance, aside from the latest information, through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger.
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