Social media has had a rather dramatic evolutionary journey. What began as a mode of connecting with friends and sharing messages, opinions and pictures has graduated to become a mode of chatting, surfing, shopping, gaming, banking, and a lot more – anytime, anywhere. The multitude of smartphones and smartphone apps has pervaded almost every sphere of life to become indispensable. This has fuelled the growth of new banking trends – with the latest being digital wallets on social media. Also called e-wallets or social wallets, they allow virtual financial transactions on social media platforms safely and securely.
Social wallets allow users to transfer money to their ‘friend list’ or ‘contacts’, share and split expenses, and even recharge prepaid mobiles over Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social platforms. Research expects this social media-ecommerce integration to deepen through 2015. Juniper Research has projected that the number of mobile money transfers globally will rise by nearly 150% to touch 13 billion, with several social media firms already noticing a dramatic rise in usage. According to Forrester, we are in the early stages of unprecedented innovation and transformation of the consumer payments industry, and the growth of a digital wallet marketplace is next.
The definition of a digital wallet continues to evolve as innovations come to market. Social wallets, by their very existence, underscore a significant fact: banks and ecommerce sites are engaging customers with social media. This is in addition to a slew of mobile banking apps available to customers. According to a study by Allied Market Research, the global mobile wallet is expected to reach $5,250 billion by 2020 given the rising smartphone penetration and increasing security technologies.
As far as money transactions on social media are concerned, what needs to be highlighted is that social media offers a medium of immediate gratification to the users. Industry reports suggest that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest influence the buying behaviors of about 80% of users. Savvy social media sites are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that consumers never need to leave their network to fulfill their needs. ‘Buy’ buttons are increasingly being integrated into social media platforms to ensure that the customers don’t leave the social networks to make a purchase. Enabling financial transactions over social media doesn’t just offer another channel to improve the consumer experience; but it also helps banks to expand their customer base and transaction volumes.
Ease of banking being the order of the day, customers are now choosing banks based on their digital capabilities, with greater loyalty being shown by customers who actively use mobile banking services. Today there are nearly 1.25 billion Facebook users and about 300 million users on LinkedIn and Twitter. These are the statistics for only three social media platforms and the numbers are rapidly growing. Such figures are hard to ignore and banks are doing everything they can to tap into social media to deliver an enhanced experience and greater flexibility to their customers.
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Publish Date: September 30, 2015 5:00 AM
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