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Tweet to pay: Is this the future of banks maintaining a competitive edge?

October 15, 2014
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Do customers want off-site banking to be as simple as sending a tweet? A bank in France is making that a reality.

With the significant rise of person-to-person (P2P) payments – allowing a customer the convenience of sending money directly to someone else quickly – news broke earlier this month that Twitter is getting into the game; and yesterday, the details were announced at a press conference. Groupe BPCE, France’s second largest bank (by customers), has utilized the API of the global social media giant Twitter to allow their customers to transfer money via a tweet.

This is certainly an interesting innovation, but many bankers may be asking themselves if it’s a practical one. BPCE allowing their customers to pay a friend, family member or business acquaintance with a tweet will likely entice some French consumers to switch banks. Bankers know that one of the key ways to attract new customers to their financial institution is to remain competitive within the marketplace. Offering convenient ways to bank can be an appealing option to draw in those new customers, particularly for the millennial generation. And while this particular innovation’s longevity is untested, as the platform is just launched, the inspiration could excite some banks in the United States to develop similar programs to get a leg up on their competition as well.

So how does a tweet to pay technology work? Tech site VentureBeat broke down the process that BCPE customers can use to send a P2P payment anywhere in the world.

Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money at BPCE, explained that this service, “Offers Twitter users in France a new way to send each other money, irrespective of their bank and without having to enter the beneficiary’s bank details, with a simple tweet.”

The tweet to pay will be managed by the bank’s S-Money mobile payments unit, via their app. The customer then links the app – which will house their financial information such as their credit card number they wish to use – to their Twitter account. Then, in order to process a P2P, the customer tweets the exact symbols and words required:

 

TweetToPay

Another question likely on the minds of both bankers and consumers is if sending money via Twitter is actually secure. BPCE says that this process will abide by the credit card industry’s data security standards.

Twitter’s foray into the on-the-go payment space falls in line with other technology companies launching similar offerings, like Apple’s mobile wallet, Apple Pay, anticipated later this month. PayPal has been a staple in the user-to-user payment option since the late 1990s; and Facebook’s speed to migrate users to their Messenger app is speculated to be the Mark Zuckerberg-run company’s entrance the payment space as well. With so many P2P payment options soon to be available, consumers will have a lot of choices for easy banking.

Bankers planning their 2015 marketing campaigns should take note of this and other innovations, overseas or locally, as remaining competitive as a financial institution may become more challenging. Question what it is that is helping your bank or credit union stand out from the crowd.

S-Money

Images courtesy of VentureBeat

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