Facebook will today integrate a new online app called Azimo into its social networking site allowing subscribers to send money to their friends directly from the site to over 125 countries across the world.
According to the UK-based Azimo, the appwill for the fast time make it possible for Facebook users to make direct money transfers via Facebook to international bank accounts.
“People share pictures, status updates and chat on Facebook – this allows you to send money just as easily. It becomes a digital wallet within your Facebook profile,” Michael Kent, founder of Azimo, said in a statement.
To send money to a friend, the user invites the recipient to sign up to Azimo via normal Facebook messaging. The recipient then fills out their personal details via the Azimo Facebook app. The information includes their bank account numbers.
The information is hidden, even from the sender, to increase the security and reduce chances of fraud. The Facebook profiles are also analysed by Azimo to ensure they are genuine, by checking the details on the profile, how active it is and how many friends the users have, among other details.
The sender just tops up his account at any of the 150,000 payout points in conjunction with Azimo, before the cash is transferred to the recipient.
Azimo charges are also cheaper than other international money transfer platforms such as Western Union and MoneyGram.
“Azimo’s aim is to charge only what is fair – between 1 to 2 percent of the transaction – and to make it quick and easy for anyone to transfer their money overseas,” Kent said.
The firm was founded last year and recently announced a £300,000 (US$480,000) angel investment, money that will help it towards expanding its operations.
The app could prove serious competition to Africa’s mobile money services, with the success of the likes of M-Pesa based on affordability and accessibility.