One of the biggest hurdles to financial inclusion is sidestepping the normal roadblocks that keep burgeoning markets from taking the next step. Case in point: while mobile banking has opened up access to financial services for millions, the lack of accounts in physical branches and all the security that comes with that still holds some back.
According to anonymous sources speaking to The Financial Times, Singapore’s banking industry is set to begin a grand experiment with Facebook IDs and Twitter usernames as a means of account access and payment. Under the system, customers who have opened accounts and registered their social media profiles with banks will be able to send and receive peer-to-peer payments without the need of account numbers or passcodes.
“We are building a system for the future with capabilities to store multiple [proxy IDs],” an anonymous source told FT. “This will be a gradual change . . . people will start using mobile numbers and gradually move to other proxies.”
If the banking proxy policy gets off the ground, experts speculated that it could jumpstart Singapore’s entrepreneurial markets – with the ability to conduct a funding campaign entirely on Facebook from beginning to end, it could reduce the financial inertia required to go from concept to market.
“If you’re an entrepreneur, you can create a funding campaign using Facebook,” Christophe Uzureau, an analyst at Gartner told FT. “The organizers of a school trip can use Facebook to see who’s paid. An airline can used Facebook IDs rather than cash or vouchers to refund passengers for a delay. It’s more flexible and it lowers costs.”