Would You Trust Facebook With Your Money In The Real World?

    June 27, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

These days, brick and mortar businesses displaying some kind of signage saying “Like us on Facebook,” are nearly as common as those displaying Visa and MasterCard logos. That’s worth considering, when you think about using Faceabook as a way to pay for goods and services in the physical world.

Of course, Facebook users have developed some trust issues with the site over the years. It would be quite interesting to see if a PayPal-like service from Facebook would be widely adopted. It’s one thing to trust a third party with your status updates and photos. It’s another to trust them with your money.

Would you trust Facebook to handle your money? Let us know in the comments.

Last week, Facebook announced that it is getting rid of Facebook Credits, in favor of real money. Users will start paying for virtual goods using their native currencies: Dollars, Pounds, Yen, etc. This represents the beginning of users being able to treat their Facebook account like a bank account, or at least like a PayPal account. I’m not sure if Facebook is FDIC insured.

While Facebook did not say anything about using currency to pay for things in the physical world, one can simply connect the dots. For one, Facebook has over 900 million users. Many of them carry it around in their pocket all day long. Now, consider that Facebook recently acquired Tagtile, described as “your universal loyalty card,” for which you can “visit local stores, tag the Tagtile Cube with your phone, and get rewarded for being an awesome customer.”

If Facebook is going to offer a digital loyalty card to use at stores, and Facebook is going to have user account balances based on actual money, it seems only logical that users will simply be able to pay with their Facebook accounts, as long as businesses adopt the technology.

Of course it would give Facebook yet another way to compete directly with Google.

Plink co-founder Peter Vogel wrote at TechCrunch, “Last year, 15 million people bought Facebook Credits, according to their S-1 filing, so it’s assumed Facebook has close to 15 million credit cards on file. By the end of this year, once paid apps are added to Facebook’s App Center, it wouldn’t be surprising if 50 million people, or about five percent of Facebook’s users are purchasing apps and other digital good, like movies, music and TV episodes, which means Facebook would have a pool of 50 million people who have entrusted it with their credit card information.”

“At that point it’s a very short distance to a ‘Pay with Facebook’ blue box showing up every time you make an online purchase (on web sites everywhere, not just on Facebook),” he adds. “Why re-enter your credit card number when you already trust Facebook to handle the transaction and bill your card? For users this could be seen as more convenient and safer than entering their credit card number on multiple sites. Facebook is PayPal on steroids, with the strength of a billion members.”

That’s an incredibly good point. Think about how the Facebook sign-in option already works for many sites in the web (and especially from mobile devices). It is so much more convenient to simply tap the button to sign in with Facebook than having to enter a whole other account name or email address and password. Paying this way could save a lot of time and hassle.

This already exists, you know:

Pay with Facebook

If Facebook can get people paying for things online regularly, people may start putting more of their money into Facebook accounts, which will make them a lot more likely to pay for things offline.

The Trust Factor

That trust factor could be a major obstacle for Facebook, however. Privacy issues have been rampant with the the social network’s dealings for years. Last year, as the result of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, regarding privacy, Facebook had to agree to regular third-party audits to make sure it remains in compliance. This all came after Facebook was found to have not kept its promises, by not warning users of privacy changes or getting their approval in advance. Essentially, changes were made an an opt out basis, rather than users opting in.

Just this week, the company switched default email addresses of users to Facebook email addresses without warning. This isn’t exactly a privacy issue, but it’s another change being made to users’ personal accounts for them. Things like this tend to irk users, and don’t do much to make users more comfortable with how the company is handling their accounts. A Lifehacker article even goes into all the reasons why the switch to a Facebook email address is less than beneficial.

Another big Facebook story this week is about a feature that Facebook rolled out called “Find Friends Nearby,” which was quickly pulled after the CEO of Friendthem claimed Facebook has stole their idea, and threatened to sue. If you’ve seen The Social Network or read book it was based on, you’ll know that Facebook has a long history of being accused of such things. That’s not to say whether or not these things have merit, but public perception is a valuable thing. Some people already have a hard enough time trusting banks with their money.

Side note: It’s unclear, by the way, if the Friendthem situation was directly related to Facebook pulling the feature. The company claims it was only a test, and not a formal roll-out anyway. It does appear to be based on the company’s acquisition of social discovery app Glancee.

We asked our Facebook fans about trusting Facebook with their money. Here is the overwhelmingly negative response we got in just a half hour’s time:

Facebook Fans Don't Trust Facebook With Their Money

Another question worth considering is whether or not people want one company to have so much control over their lives. Do you want to keep so much personal information, photos, videos, and money all under one Internet-based account. There are major hacking stories in the news frequently these days, and many may be hesitant based on that very fact.

This month, another prominent social network, LinkedIn, fell victim to a password leak. LulzSec hackers managed to gain access to 10,000 Twitter accounts via a vulnerability in a third-party app. Consider how many third-party apps are connected to Facebook. According to the company, as of March, over 9 million apps and websites were integrated with Facebook. How much bigger of a target would Facebook be with more people keeping their money tied up in their accounts.

Of course, people are already keeping some amount of money tied up in Facebook, on a much smaller scale than what the future may very well hold.

“People can store their payment information on Facebook in a trusted environment and then make purchases across a range of apps – without having to re-enter their payment information in each app,” Facebook says about its current Payments offering. “Payment options include credit and debit cards, PayPal, mobile payments, gift cards and numerous local payment options around the world.”

If Facebook makes a significant transition to the offline, non-app world (like its peers are also trying to do), will you make the transition along with them? Will you use your Facebook account to buy burgers, gas or other every day items? Let us know in the comments.

  • Paul

    Not a chance in hell!

  • http://www.lubedealer.com/hiebert R. Hiebert

    Maybe a small amount to wait and see what happens to it or if it even works. There’s rules & regs that have to complied with so that determines if it would be something I’d do; certainly not for investing any serious long term scenarios.

  • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob Rodriguez

    Absolutely NOT!

  • David

    I don’t trust facebook with my data, let alone my dollars!

  • http://www.morpethnet.co.uk Dave

    I have a long-term, deep rooted suspicion of all “Social Media” websites, which seem to have developed the insidious ability to exchange data – admittedly at the moment, apparently at the user’s request. With one click, it is possible to invite the world to continuously check on where you are, what you’re watching or listening to, or who you are associated with. I see no real advantage for the user in these facilities save to feed a sense of vanity about “being online”. Orwell, in “1984” showed remarkable insight into how society would develop, not that he understood the means by with it would happen. No, we are not forced to have TV cameras in our homes, but we are subtly flattered and persuaded into giving up our privacy to those whose sole motivation is profit, and who appear to have litte in the way of scruples.
    Not that all online transactions are to mis-trusted. By far the majority of e-commerce sites and online banking facilities have a vested interest in being considered trustworthy – their continued success depends on this reputation. Consequently, I will shop with Amazon, I will do online banking, I have an ebay and a Paypal account, but hell will freeze over before Facebook, Google or Twitter get anywhere near my financial details, or the ability to distribute my private life worldwide.

  • http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

    NO that is not what it is for. unsecure too many chances for disputes with chargeback problems lightly.

  • Jackie Mackay

    Dave is correct. Facebook is just an advertising set up. I decline to have an account. Now they want to do what everybody else is doing – make money out of money. There is no value or creativity in the set-up and I would not trust Facebook which leeches on people’s energy and gives nothing and is a parasite on the Web.

    Any value in it has been created by the people who use Facebook by spending excessive time communicating and others who are trying to make money from “free” traffic and advertising. Facebook is a scam as people are starting to find out. Social Media is on the way out.

    Of course they want to do what Paypal Ebay and Amazon do- because they are desperate as they too know they are sinking and their stock value is diminishing. If they apply their parasitism to the transacting of money then they too will FAIL.


  • http://littlethunders.webs.com/ Littlethunder

    To answer your question: NO I would not trust FB with my money. I have been using my Paypal account to get credits for games and I plan on keeping it that way. NO WAY are they going to get my credit card or debit card numbers.
    I use Paypal for about 85% of stuff I buy online as a safety net of sorts. And whats funny is my bank goes along with this frame of thinking.

  • http://www.ulc.net Become Ordained Online

    I absolutely will not trust Facebook with money. I am already on the fence in regard to maintaining an account with them at all, and am considering removing everything from my Facebook page and just using it to get updates about friends.

    They are clearly not sufficiently concerned about issues such as privacy and have demonstrated repeatedly that they see nothing wrong with making big changes with little or no notification to their users.

    There are already plenty of ways to pay online, which have a record of credibility and safety. One more method of payment will just be one more vulnerability to those who use it, and one more hassle for merchants who adopt it.

    I think Facebook would be wise to heed the advice to do one thing and do it well. The more they try to branch out, the more they cause problems for themselves and others.

    As a merchant, I have already experienced the hassles of trying to integrate Google Checkout. While PayPal and credit card payments have been smooth and effortless, every transaction with Google Checkout was a hassle, not to mention, one more account to have to reconcile.

    Absolutely no way will I use it myself or offer it as a payment method for customers. Anyone who will be using Facebook for payment is likely to have a PayPal account already. It is not a service that is needed, and I predict it will fail miserably, further eroding the image and credibility of Facebook.

  • http://www.reynoldspest.com Reynolds Pest Management, Inc.

    Not saying I necessarily like the idea of FB accepting payments, but I do believe that it is a natural transition for them to accept payments for services and to diversify into other markets in order to maintain global acceptance.

  • http://www.jkershaw.info James Kershaw

    It’a all just another seat beside the money pit. Fortunately, I am the only person responsible for my money. I can choose not to sit there.

  • Vern

    No way, Jose’

  • http://artsweightloss.com Art

    I don’t even use my real name on Facebook. It would be a frosty day in hell before I would recommend them for anything to do with finances.

  • Sharon J

    You must be kidding me. Never.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    I only trust PayPal because I have to as many e-tailers I buy from have it as their only option for payment so it’d be a cold day below before I’d trust a Facebook with my financial info.

    But then again, I’d have to get a Facebook account again, after having deleted my old one some time ago, before it would even be an issue, meaning it won’t. 😉

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    I just noticed from reading the replies so far the number of responses that use the temperature in Hades as an indicator of their relative level of interest.

    The Weather report has a hot and blistering forecast for Hell till the crack of doom so Facebook is unlikely to see too many users of any e-wallet type service they may provide any time soon. 😉

    • http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

      yes,with a starving vegan. but not facebook with my money

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    Would you trust your ham sandwich with a starving vegan?!

  • Amelie Welman

    Not no, but Hell No!

  • David Yates

    Absolutely not. Facebook has a history of rolling out new features which trespass on privacy and does so for self serving purposes. Everything that Facebook does is to serve its own needs first and questionably for users. I do not trust Facebook at all.

  • sj

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA – Now that’s the best joke I’ve heard in a long time. In case the sarcasm was missed my answer is NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

  • http://www.dotponto.com/ Steve Masters

    I would trust Facebook with my money as much as I would trust Lindsey Lohan with my car.

  • http://www.sky-masters.com Alan Segal

    I don’t trust facebook with anything.

    They’ve had so many privacy issues in the past.

    I do not log on to websites that require a “facebook” login.

    They want me to give them a cell number to “prove who I am”, I refuse
    to do that. I believe I have a right to keep my private number private.

  • AJ

    One word. NO!

  • Jim C

    I wouldn’t even trust them in a virtual world!

  • http://www.northernaquafarms.com Robert Freeman

    I do not think that I will. The issues of privacy and the like surrounding face book are still very much a concern to me and they have created a sense of distrust due to their response and / or lack of action in dealing with privacy and security matters.

  • Shanti Lewis

    Absolutely NOT… Never would I trust or use Facebook to pay for even penny candy

  • http://www.bentowing.com towing philadelphia

    not lol

  • http://bungeebones.com Robert

    I’ve become a Bitcoin fan myself and have a lot more confidence in its cryptography than in Facebook’s policies.

  • Andy

    Given that Facebook emails its users with request to look at someones photos or event request and hence makes it users vulnerable to email phishing attacks; I think it is an absurd idea that anyone should trust them with a payment process. Most of its users are young and technically naive as well.

  • http://www.craftlamps.co.uk Jerry Cripps

    As an online retailer who uses PayPal purely because our customers demand it if this goes ahead I suspect we will be forced to use it.
    Not something I look forward too as PayPal is more expensive and provides less security for the merchant than my bank merchant account so I don’t see Facebook being any better!!

  • Mike Seidelman

    I would never trust facebook. I am not stupid.

  • will

    ahhh, that olde make money from money idea, Facebook Money Run

  • http://www.sewamobilbox-murah.com Binsa Tobing

    Ya sesuatu yang tidak mungkin dipercaya.

  • http://www.alda-architects.com Alan

    They can’t be any worse than Ulster Bank!!!!!!!!! There a computer crash has made accounts inaccessible for weeks now. Can’t pay bills, can’t withdraw money nor pay it in. We place a lot of trust in organisations like Barclays who have been fined £290,000,000 for basically illegal activity. Organisations that sell you junk as securities, and at the same time take positions against what they sell you. With that in mind I think we should now all move towards a cash society where possible for I wouldn’t trust any of them.

  • http://www.ppiclaimco.org click here

    I am glad to find your impressive way of writing the post. Now it become easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thanks for sharing the post. We provide personalized service that includes sitting down with our clients

  • http://themedicalbillingandcodingschools.com Medical billing and coding

    I like your article, does increase the major point of view on the matter. Thanks a lot.

  • Ernest Marx


  • Michelle

    oh hell no! LOL!!! Those guys loose my messages all the time, their widgets they force upon you are squirreley as hell, and NO ONE EVER RESPONDS from customer service. MY MONEY? Hardly.

  • Melchior Sch

    90% of people don’t trust Facebook. you can even vote yourself on https://poutsch.com/question/1003782

  • http://www.salesdujour.com/ Gary Hart

    This morning I wrote, ” Facebook is pimping it’s community. They had something beautiful, put it on the corner, and sold it cheap.” I don’t trust Facebook with my posts, photos, and basic profile information.