By AltFi on Thursday 16 October 2014
One of the main questions facing the peer-to-peer lending sector is how best to increase public awareness. And a somewhat surprising potential solution has now emerged: partnering up with social media giants like Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook has reportedly been in talks with Lending Club and Prosper about working out a method for its users to get loans funded via their social media network. The news comes courtesy of three sources that are familiar with the talks. The conversations are said to have begun several months ago and are now escalating as Facebook gets more serious about its payment strategy.
On top of this Twitter announced this week that users in France can tweet money to followers. Twitter has implemented this new feature via S-money, a division of the second largest French banking group in terms of customers – Groupe BPCE. The service is available to anyone with a bank account and a Twitter handle in France.
Oliver Gonzalez, CEO of Twitter France, stated that twitter was well suited to payments because of its “live, public, conversational dimension”. This development seems to suggest that Twitter could well look to get involved with the peer-to-peer lending phenomenon.
This is just the latest step forward in the interaction of social media and finance. Last month Twitter launched its own “buy” button that allows people to purchase products directly from a tweet. And Facebook has also been keen to capitalise on e-commerce in order to encourage advertisers to make use of its truly global network.
Earlier this year Agree It launched – a Facebook app that is designed to streamline lending between friends and the idea is that you build up a kind of social credit rating, but there is no security or legal obligation to pay back the money. This could be seen as one of the first interactions between peer-to-peer lending (of a kind) and social media. Facebook now appears poised to take a more active role in entering the technology driven banking sector – and partnering with a true peer-to-peer lender could be the first forward.
Facebook entering the peer-to-peer lending market is an obvious way for the various platforms to reach a potentially enormous audience. It could be a key stepping stone in raising the profile of the industry on a worldwide scale. It will be interesting to see how both platforms and social media seek to capitalise on this opportunity going forward.