Is Facebook set to rival PayPal?
Facebook could be set to enter the world of mobile payments and financial services.
The social media giant is seeking approval in Ireland for a service that would allow users to store money, make payments and exchange money via the website, putting it in competition with the likes of Western Union and PayPal, according to the Financial Times.
Its approval by Ireland's Central Bank would grant the website "e-money" status, meaning the service could be used throughout EU member states without having to seek approval in each one via a process known as "passporting."
The firm has also discussed potential link-ups with at least three London-based companies that offer international money transfer services online and via smartphones, the report adds.
Allowing users to send money through their Facebook accounts would help increase the website's presence in emerging markets such as India, where it recently passed the 100 million user mark.
Billions of dollars are sent home by migrants each year to countries where large parts of the population don't have bank accounts.
The newspaper quotes a source familiar with the company's plans, who said: "Facebook wants to become a utility in the developing world, and remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion."
Facebook already has permission to carry out some forms of money transfer in the United States, taking money from users who make in-app purchases in games such as Candy Crush Saga and Farmville.
It has not commented on the report, calling it "rumour and speculation".
Generic, loosely-defined term for markets in a newly industrialised or Third World country that is in the process of moving from a closed economy to an open market economy while building accountability within the system. The World Bank recognises 28 countries as emerging markets, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Israel, Morocco, Russia and Venezuela. Because these countries carry additional political, economic and currency risks, investors in emerging markets should accept volatile returns. There is potential to make large profit at the risk of large losses.