Facebook in talks with banks to expand customer service

Mark Zuckerberg Co Founder and CEO of Facebook returns from a break to answer the last of the Member's questions as he testifies before a meeting of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce during a hearing on

Social network reportedly wants to team up with corporate financial giants to gather data on banking and credit cards

New features could include tools that help users check their account balances or alert them about bank fraud, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal originally reported that over the a year ago, Facebook had been asking banks to share financial information on customers, including spending habits and bank account balances, as a way to better integrate commerce into Facebook, and specifically Messenger.

US banks including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and US Bancorp have been asked to consider potential deals that would host bank customers on Facebook Messenger.

But Facebook is still dealing with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which generated a lot of distrust in how the company manages its users' data.

Facebook has been trying for a long time to make its Messenger app a hub for commercial activity. "How much more of your personal existence are you willing to give up to continue to be a sieve of your data for a multi-billion dollar corporation?"

"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt-in", the spokesperson said, adding that keeping people's information safe is critical to its partnerships with any banking institutions.

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the latest data partnership Facebook is pursuing could involve some of the US' biggest banking organizations.

The banks' primary concern with this partnership is, unsurprisingly, about data privacy.

The Journal's report comes as Facebook has drawn increasing criticism over its privacy practices following revelations that political data firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users worldwide. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana says: "We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads". Citigroup and Wells Fargo refused to comment.

From Facebook's perspective, the company believes that more customer information means more targeted efforts at engaging its user base.

"Facebook already has mountains of information about our social networks, physical movements, and activity online".

Shares of Facebook surged almost 3% following the report. However, Facebook received good marks for "offering detailed terms of service and end-user agreements that explain how they use consumers' data", Consumer Reports said.

Latest News