social-media giant has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed
financial information about their customers, including card
transactions and checking-account balances, as part of an effort
to offer new services to users.
increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell
goods and services, besides connecting with friends. The company
over the past year asked JPMorgan
Chase JPM +0.00% &
Fargo WFC +0.10% &
Co., Citigroup Inc. C -0.01% and U.S.
Bancorp to discuss potential offerings
it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said
people familiar with the matter.
has talked about a feature that would show its users their
checking-account balances, the people said. It has also pitched
fraud alerts, some of the people said.
privacy is a sticking point in the
banks’ conversations with Facebook, according to people familiar
with the matter. The talks are taking place as Facebook faces
several investigations over its ties to political analytics firm
Cambridge Analytica, which accessed data on as many 87 million
Facebook users without their consent.
large U.S. bank pulled away from talks due to privacy concerns,
some of the people said.
has told banks that the additional customer information could be
used to offer services that might entice users to spend more
time on Messenger, a person familiar with the discussions said.
The company is trying to deepen user engagement: Investors
shaved more than $120 billion from its market value in one day
last month after
it said its growth is starting to slow.
said it wouldn’t use the bank data for ad-targeting purposes or
share it with third parties.
don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for
ads,” said spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana. “We also don’t have
special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or
credit-card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for
shares climbed sharply on the news, up 3.5% around midday,
marking the biggest gain since last
month’s historic drop.
face pressure to build relationships with big online platforms,
which reach billions of users and drive a growing share of
commerce. They also are trying to reach more users digitally.
Many struggle to gain traction in mobile payments.
banks are hesitant to hand too much control to third-party
platforms such as Facebook. They prefer to keep customers on
their own websites and apps.
part of the proposed deals, Facebook asked banks for information
about where its users are shopping with their debit and credit
cards outside of purchases they make using Facebook Messenger,
the people said. Messenger has some 1.3 billion monthly active
users, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on the
company’s second-quarter earnings call last month.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google
and Amazon.com Inc. also
have asked banks to share data if they join with them, in order
to provide basic banking services on applications such as Google
Assistant and Alexa, according to people familiar with the
many online companies, we routinely talk to financial
institutions about how we can improve people’s commerce
experiences, like enabling better customer service,” Ms. Diana
said. “An essential part of these efforts is keeping people’s
information safe and secure.”
has taken a harder public line on privacy since the Cambridge
Analytica uproar. A product privacy team has announced new
features such as “clear history,” which would allow users to
prevent the service from collecting their off-Facebook browsing
details. It also is making efforts to alert users to its privacy
hasn’t assuaged concerns about Facebook’s privacy practices.
Bank executives are worried about the breadth of information
being sought, even if it means not being available on certain
platforms that their customers use. Bank customers would need to
opt-in to the proposed Facebook services, the company said in a
isn’t “sharing our customers’ off-platform transaction data with
these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a
result,” said spokeswoman Trish Wexler.
view mobile commerce as one of their biggest opportunities, but
are still running behind technology firms such as PayPal
Holdings Inc. PYPL +0.60% and
Square Inc. Customers have moved slowly, too; many Americans
still prefer using their cards, along with cash and checks.
an effort to compete with PayPal’s Venmo, a group of large banks
last year connected their smartphone apps to money-transfer
network Zelle. Results are mixed so far: While usage has risen, many
banks still aren’t on the platform.
recent years, Facebook has tried to transform Messenger into
a hub for customer service and commerce, in keeping with a
broader trend among mobile messaging services.
partnership with American
Express Co. AXP +0.12% allows
Facebook users to contact the card company’s representatives.
Last year, Facebook struck a deal with PayPal that allows users
to send money through Messenger. Mastercard Inc. MA +0.12% cardholders
can place online orders with certain merchants through Messenger
using the card company’s Masterpass digital wallet. (A
Mastercard spokesman said Facebook doesn’t see card
MacMillan and Laura Stevens contributed to this article.
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