Facebook’s push to gain access to users’ banking data and other sensitive financial information could help make online banking more efficient - or it could backfire among those sceptical that the world’s biggest social network can reliably safeguard personal data.
The site has joined a growing race among big technology companies seeking private information once regarded as off-limits: users’ checking-account balances, recent credit card transactions and other facts of their personal finances.
Facebook said this week that it had proposed data-sharing partnerships with banks and credit card companies that would allow users to access their personal account information from within the social network’s messaging service, Facebook Messenger, as an alternative to speaking with customer service representatives or automated chatbots on the companies’ banking or credit sites.
Facebook said the data would not be shared with marketers or used for ad-targeting purposes, and no major US financial institutions have announced that they’re interested in a joint arrangement.
But a company representative said several unnamed banks and credit card companies had voiced interest in teaming up with the social network, even proposing their own potential deals.
“The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it’s completely opt-in,” Facebook spokesperson Elisabeth Diana said. “We’re not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences - not for advertising or anything else. A critical part of these partnerships is keeping people’s information safe and secure.”