Facebook in talks with banks to share customer details, expand customer service

Ivan Schwartz
August 7, 2018

The social media company has reportedly asked us banks to share financial information about their customers, including checking-account balances and card transactions. Specifically, the social media company wants to incorporate its users' financial data into Messenger, allowing them to to check their account balances or watch for fraud alerts.

Facebook maintains that if it gets the data from banks, it will use it to offer services that encourage people to spend more time on Messenger, and will not use it to target ads or share with third parties.

"We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads", claimed Facebook spokesman Elisabeth Diana.

"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt-in", she added. At least one major United States bank left talks with the company due to privacy concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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"We haven't shared any customer information or data to Facebook or any other technology platform", said Dana Ripley, chief communications officer at US Bancorp, in an email statement.

"While we regularly have conversations about potential partnerships, safeguarding the security and privacy of our customers' data and providing customer choice are paramount in everything we do", Citigroup told AFP by email. However, the banks seem to be approaching any partnerships very carefully after the recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, and one large bank has reportedly already quit talks with Facebook.

Wells Fargo declined to comment. "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.

The social network is now looking at cooler growth following a years-long breakneck pace. The information would be used to offer new services to Facebook account holders. Facebook has pulled in $11.8 billion in advertising revenue in the USA and Canada so far in 2018.

Other reports by GizPress

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