French bank enables consumers to tweet money

French bank BPCE is enabling Twitter users to tweet payments to each other through its electronic money subsidiary, S-money

French bank BPCE is enabling Twitter users to tweet payments to each other through its electronic money subsidiary, S-money.

From next month the service will be available to any Twitter user in France with a bank account regardless of which bank they belong to.

Jean-Yves Forel, Groupe BPCE Commercial Banking and Insurance CEO, said the bank “is the first banking group to offer individuals a payment solution where they can transfer money with a simple Tweet. This S-Money initiative opens a whole new range of payment possibilities on the social networks.”

Twitter’s CEO in France, Olivier Gonzalez, welcomed the announcement.

There will be no need to fill in a recipient’s bank details.

The most common use of Twitter at banks is to engage with customers. For example, Nationwide Building Society provides 24-hour service to address customer questions via Twitter.

Twitter users can tweet the company 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with questions and queries.

Nationwide COO Tony Prestedge said in the short time that businesses have been using social media, Twitter has become the channel of choice for customers who want to talk to companies, whether it is to ask questions or share their opinions. 

“Yet so many organisations are either not using Twitter properly or see it as a poor relation to traditional channels such as the phone. At Nationwide, we have embraced Twitter and are using it as an integral part of our customer service and support strategy.”

Changing attitudes to social media

The BPCE development takes finance industry use of Twitter to the next level.

But the use of Twitter and other social media has gone way beyond what many in the banking sector expected. A behind closed-doors meeting of bankers, social media experts and technologists at The Financial Services Club back in 2009 revealed how the sector, which traditionally leads technology innovation, viewed social media technology at that time. 

Here is a list of some of the comments made in the 2009 meeting, many of which demonstrate how much has changed since then:

  • "Social media is the plumbing of collaboration."
  • "Twitter is interesting but I do not know why. It is interesting because people are using it."
  • "If you want to adopt social media you need to listen to what people are saying about it by monitoring online discussions."
  • "Businesses can facilitate customer services through social media but it is not the answer to everything."
  • "Most businesses in this country are one-man bands and most of these are online. They would like to be able to run their businesses online including dealing with banks and the tax office for example."
  • "Banks will have to get used to the idea that there will be some customers will want to use the web."
  • "In 1923 the head of the Post Office said he could not see any uses for a telephone apart from calling servants."
  • "Corporates are already monitoring data feeds to see what people are talking about through mechanical scanning of social media feeds."
  • "In financial services we are still in the educational phase."
  • "There will be a bonus for banks that experiment early with social media."
  • "Banks can't experimented because of heavy regulations."
  • "Social media is a good way of engaging with employees as well as customers."
  • "How does social media transfer to the corporate context is what banks are trying to understand. There has to be a new way found for doing this."
  • "I am not certain [banks] are in a position to use social media credible."
  • "A lot of it is total bollocks."
  • "Once a customer question has been answered by a corporate through a social media site it doesn't have to be re-answered again and again."
  • "We do not deny that this technology will be used by us but to do this will require things we do not know."
  • "Banks could start working with third parties for technology because it is hard to change legacy systems."
  • "Two banks ask me to build a community for them every week."
  • "If the way to make money out of social media was obvious Facebook would be doing it."
  • "The designed for purpose of technology in banks is never the purpose it is put to."
  • "We might make a product designed for loans and it could end up being used for payments."

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