A new Facebook application has been launched that allows friends to transfer their money online, thus making it easier for expats to switch money between countries.
The Azimo foreign exchange service allows expats to move currencies to 125 different countries online via the social networking site and is being pitched as a safe and secure method of switching currencies between friends and family. With a minimum transfer value of just £50 the service is designed to be quick and efficient with customers able to send up to £900 in minutes without the need for ID verification.
The app, which was designed and created by a UK-based company, is believed to be the first application of its kind in terms of the use of social media to transfer money at a low cost. Discussing the application, founder Michael Kent said: “Facebook helps a billion friends and relatives keep in touch across the world, so it seemed suitable that if they were talking money, they should be able to switch cash around between banks and countries as easy as they can share chat and photographs.”
At present, the currency exchange market is dominated by Western Union and Moneygram. However, the creators of Azimo hope that their service will challenge the dominant players and disrupt the current market rates. The founders of Azimo have revealed that they will charge up to 85% less than banks and other online exchange providers for access to their service and will ensure that transferred funds are available within 24 hours, as opposed to the three-five days that has become standard.
Michael Kent added: “Our automated online service is cheap because that’s what it is – we don’t need expensive staff and branches. Cutting overheads means we can pass the benefit on to customers.”
While many potential users have voiced concerns over the security associated with using a social networking site like Facebook to transfer currencies, the apps founders argue that the service is fully secure and protected. Furthermore, in order to reduce the potential of fraud, the software used to run the app analyses “key pieces of information about individual Facebook profiles to verify that they are genuine.” Such factors include the length of time a Facebook profile has been in existence, the frequency of its use and the supporting account information, such as email address and account holder name.