With some of the world’s biggest tech companies – Apple, Samsung, Google, and more – having delved into financial services, is Facebook next?
That certainly seems to be the implication of Visa’s announcement that Facebook has joined its Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP).
The program is designed to essentially enable access to Visa payments services including the Visa Token Service for VDEP participants. As Visa explains in a statement, by joining the program “Facebook is able to offer its payments solutions to businesses, payments processors, and financial institutions that utilize the Visa Token Service in a convenient and scalable manner and without a complex set of contractual agreements or technology integrations”.
PayPal joined VDEP in the summer of last year, and proceeded to ramp up its activities in the emerging mobile payments space. So what is Facebook’s aim in joining the program? Its aims could be relatively banal, with Visa’s statement indicating that Facebook will use the Visa Token Service “as one of the many protections it employs to ensure the security of payments across its platform.” But given that Facebook recently enabled PayPal money transfers in its Messenger service, and that it’s reportedly working on hardware products including an Amazon Echo rival, it may be planning an expansion of its payments activities to compete with other tech firms that have also looked to innovative payments features to enhance their products and services.
For now, though, Facebook’s participation in VDEP may simply mean better security for Facebook users, which is no small matter as consumers get more and more comfortable spending money online.