French bank turns to Twitter for money transfers

Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:19am EDT
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By Leila Abboud and Eric Auchard

PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - One of France's largest banks launched a service on Tuesday to allow its customers to transfer money to other people via tweets on social network Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N: Quote).

The move by Groupe BPCE [BPCE.UL], France's second largest bank by customers, is an effort to attract attention and users to its S-Money mobile payments unit, which already allows people to transfer money over mobile phones via text message.

Created by the bank using Twitter's open software standards, known as APIs, the service allows French customers to send money to a friend regardless of which bank they use, and without requiring them to know the recipient's banking details.

For its part, Twitter is making its own separate push into the world of online payments as the social network seeks new sources of revenue beyond advertising.

Twitter is racing other tech giants Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) and Facebook (FB.O: Quote) to get a foothold in new payment services for mobile phones or apps. They are collaborating and, in some cases, competing with banks and credit card issuers that have run the business for decades.

"We salute the spirit of innovation of the BPCE," said Olivier Gonzalez, who heads Twitter France, in a statement.

Last month, Twitter started trials of its own new service, dubbed "Twitter Buy",  to allow consumers to find and buy products on its social network.

The service embeds a "Twitter Buy" button inside tweets posted by more than two dozen stores, music artists and non-profits. Burberry (BRBY.L: Quote), Home Depot (HD.N: Quote), and musicians such as Pharrell and Megadeth are among the early vendors.   Continued...

Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money, BPCE's mobile payments unit, attends a news conference in Paris October 14, 2014.    REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen