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Facebook’s great for a lot of things. Keeping up to date with friends, promoting your brand, and organising your social diary are just some of the things you can do on the world’s social network. But what if you need to pay someone you know on Facebook?
Surely you’d have to at least have their banking or PayPal details right? That might have been true in the past, but a company called ZunguZ is looking to change all that.
The company which has presences in Silicon Valley and Cape Town claims that its product allows social network users “to securely exchange money, cost-free, with fellow users”.
ZunguZ claims that the “multi-tiered platform” “integrates key role players including social networks, financial service providers and banking institutions to facilitate micro-payments”.
According to Sussman, your Facebook profile is all the identification you need and with it you can activate ZunguZ without leaving Facebook. Essentially, he says, you are “given a Facebook bank account”.
The platform was recently released to the public in the form of a soft launch that allowed closed beta users to invite other users and is now in full release mode.
Tech entrepreneurs Robert Sussman and Lance Fanaroff are the men charged with rolling out ZunguZ in South Africa.
Although the initial interest around ZunguZ came from the US and South Africa, it has reportedly been getting more global attention of late.
There has been “a flood of interest coming from Australia, Canada, China, Nigeria and USA,” says Sussman.
Sussman also claims that “ZunguZ is the first platform that allows a Facebook user to pay another Facebook user (with no requirement for a user to have a bank account or email address)”. He adds that it does not, however, “compete with the likes of PayPal”.
Neither ZunguZ nor Facebook, however, can access your money he says. “This is all handled by the banks, together with their standard level of banking security, regulation and compliance”.
The company claims to be big on security and therefore makes use of “Thawte certification, SSL, HTTPS and second factor authentication “
According to Sussman, ZunguZ has the potential to influence the purchasing decisions of over 850-million users across the world.
He claims that ZunguZ is “intercepting the ‘un-banked’ and ‘low banked’ population at the point of purchase. We have been overwhelmed with requests from some of the largest and most prominent banks in the world, to leverage our platform to deliver their services”.
ZunguZ reckons the time is right for a “global, secure initiative that combines the banking fraternity with social networks” – something it says was identified by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people — and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time,” said Zuckerberg.