Facebook has dabbled in online payments for years, but news out of Europe indicates that the company is working on becoming an "e-money" institution in Ireland, and has been in discussion with various companies in London about money transfer services.
A report out today from the Financial Times (registration required) says Facebook is "readying itself to provide financial services in the form of remittances and electronic money," and that it's just weeks away from gaining regulatory approval in Ireland for such an endeavor.
With this service, the FT says, users would be able to store money on Facebook, and use it to pay and exchange money with others. It cites "several people involved in the process" as the source of this info.
Facebook is not commenting on the matter, but if regulatory approval is indeed as close as the report suggests, we'll probably be learning more about this in the near future.
While the focus appears to be more on international markets, such an offering would put Facebook in more direct competition with Google on yet another front, not to mention all the other companies scrambling to be your payments provider.
Google and Square both have email working for them, offering users the ability to send money via simple email messages. Facebook recently abandoned its email service, but it does have the advantage of 1.23 billion monthly active users.
Payments (and other fees) generated $241 million for the company in Q4.
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