SAN JOSE, Calif. – Facebook payments revenue stream has been on a steady decline for years now.
In terms of revenue, Facebook is an advertising company. Last year, the social media giant introduced payments via dozens of bots in its Messenger platform, which (some thought) could in time revive the payments revenue stream for Facebook.
Not happening, according to Kahina Van Dyke, global director of commerce and payment partnerships at Facebook.
Instead, the company aims to leverage the existing banking infrastructure, by enabling payments through partners, instead of trying to replace the existing channels, Van Dyke said during a fireside chat at the Bank Innovation 2017 conference here yesterday.
“Facebook has no interest in becoming a bank,” she said, adding that the company does not even view payments as a revenue play for the business – merely as a channel for advertising revenue, as well as to spur time on the site.
The Messenger platform is filling up with money transfer and P2P bots, including TransferWise and PayPal. “We think Messenger is a really important platform for social payments,” said Van Dyke. Adding bots like TransferWise to the platform is particularly apt for the company’s goal of connecting the world, she said
When asked, she emphasized that the Transferwise situation is not a partnership — it’s just a bot.
The company’s growing presence in fintech is notable, to say the least. This past December the social network secured a payments license in Europe. But if Facebook isn’t trying to replace banks, what is its fintech end goal?
“I see a world where people can send money in the blink of an eye, to anyone – anyone – in the world, safely, no matter who they are,” Van Dyke said. The goal starts with the 1.9 billion Facebook users, she added. The Messenger platform has 1.2 billion users.
Whether or not the company will stick with this strategy (or will launch its own payments model tomorrow) is unclear. At least one member of the audience at BI 2017 expressed skepticism.
Good dialogue about Messenger bots within financial services. Facebook doesn't think about monetizing these channels. Cough cough #GOFintech
— Bradley Leimer (@leimer) March 7, 2017
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@DinaAsat every set of content and personal attribute is for ads…profile profile profile and ads…so no. 😉
— Bradley Leimer (@leimer) March 8, 2017