Big Tech firms continued make inroads into the financial sector, with Meta—the owner of Facebook and WhatsApp—venturing into Brazil and Guatemala.
In March, Brazil’s Central Bank cleared WhatsApp to start transfers between Visa and Mastercard cardholders under the Facebook Pay program, giving a jolt to the country’s payments market while sparking concern about the security of data handling.
Facebook’s wallet Novi was also approved for cross-border payments between Guatemala and the United States. “We are a challenger in payments,” tweeted (without irony) David Marcus, former head of then-F2 (Facebook Financial). The company plans to monetize Novi with collections from businesses once it has a critical mass of users for the free, person-to-person payments service.
As banks strive to make their apps more user-friendly, they’ll need to keep an eye on the progress made by Big Tech—which are leaders in user experience—in financial services.