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Facebook试水移动支付 客户隐私保护成最大担忧

很多人认为,支付行业正持戈试马,迎接变革,而Facebook就是这样一个正准备进军这一领域的科技巨头。创新与发展虽然是好事,但这个新闻还是引起了投资者的担忧。

拓展计划

世界各大媒体的报道称,Facebook目前正在等待爱尔兰监管机构批准,距离最后期限还有“数周之遥;”一旦成功,该公司今后将可以为用户提供储蓄业务,以及商家和亲友之间的汇款业务。

这一报道随即使许多人想起eBay的PayPal业务和Google。这两家公司与Facebook相似,他们都是加尼福尼亚的科技巨头,都准备成为移动支付行业的主力军。

主要变化

Facebook发展该项业务的背后原因显而易见。eBay的PayPal移动支付业务从2010年的7.5亿美元一路扶摇直上到2013年的270亿美元,仅2013年的第四季度就收入高达88亿。客户在使用Paypal移动端购买eBay商品并非这一惊人数字的主要推力,因为近一半的收入是在eBay以外的平台实现的。

同样,Google也一直积极通过Google钱包扩展移动支付业务。用户不仅可以利用手机向商店和朋友汇款,还可以使用google钱包实体卡在不支持移动支付业务的商店使用。Google钱包中还能储存会员卡并接收优惠购物提醒。

然而Facebook与其他移动支付服务商之间的一个关键区别可能会使其面临以失败告终的结果。

客户的担忧

McKinsey是一家咨询公司,曾就移动支付问题向全美1000人征寻意见,并于近期公布了调查结果。该公司称:近些年来,针对移动支付的意见始终不休。尽管市面上不断出现和再现附加了各种功能的应用程序,其功能远远多于“移动支付”一项,然而普通民众对其应用却并不广泛,或者说他们还没准备彻底放弃实物钱包。

造成这种情况的原因有很多,其中一部分原因就是移动支付行业本身极其分散。说到底就是,一些商家接受Google钱包,另一些商家接受PayPal,还一些商家两个都不接受。

但是或许可以让Facebook感到些许宽慰的是,客户是将获得交易和报价作为仅次于便利性的最重要的移动支付特性。由于Facebook掌握了偏好、趋势及各类客户信息,移动支付方案正好可以提供交易和报价。

然而,研究又表明:“隐私问题依然令人担忧。68%的客户宁愿不要定制报价,也不愿提供个人信息。”

令Facebook担心的原因

Facebook一直在解决其客户围绕隐私问题产生的担忧,这件事本身不足为奇。但是,近年来客户的担忧只增未减。

联邦贸易委员会在上周给Facebook的一封信中肯定地说:Facebook在WhatsApp上收集客户数据的方式如有变动——众所周知的Facebook作法——用户有知情权。信中写道:“WhatsApp已就其收集、维护以及与第三方分享的数据的局限性做出了一系列保证——超出了当前向Facebook用户承诺的保证条款。我们要表明的是,不论WhatsApp通过何种途径获取数据,必须继续信守对客户所做的这些保证条款。”

九月,联邦贸易委员会针对Facebook改变隐私条款是否违反2011年所定协议一事提出了质疑。

以上表明,如果用户因隐私问题对使用移动支付业务犹豫不决,如果Facebook是解决这一问题的最终途径,那么这一难题恐怕难以缓解。

主要看点

人们了解eBay和PayPal的本质是商业运作,因而信任使用该业务进行支付。而Google不同,其较少使用的社交网络功能事实上可以使其在支付领域中受益。

现在断言Facebook在移动支付领域的动机和投入还为时过早,但人们不得不认为这可能是能够致其功败垂成的一步。

Many have suggested the payments industry is poised for change, and Facebook appears to be another technology behemoth aiming to join the fray. And while innovation and expansion are often good thing, this news should actually be a cause of concern for investors.

The reported expansion

Media outlets everywhere are reporting Facebook is "weeks away" from receiving approval from the Irish regulatory body that will provide its users the ability to save money on Facebook and in turn send that money to merchants and friends.

This has caused many to immediately think of the PayPal unit of eBay and Google, both of which are like Facebook in that they're California technology titans preparing to become dominant forces in the mobile payment landscape.

The major changes

The reason behind the expansion by Facebook is understandable. eBay has seen PayPal grow its mobile payments from $750 million in 2010 to a staggering $27 billion in 2013, and reported a staggering $8.8 billion in the fourth quarter alone. And this wasn't simply the result of people buying things from eBay through PayPal on their mobile devices, as nearly half of the payments were done outside of eBay.

Similarly, Google has been aggressively expanding into the payments industry as well through Google Wallet. It allows for individuals to send money to both stores and friends through their phones, but also has a physical card to use in stores that don't. It even lets individuals store loyalty cards and receive deals from merchants.

Yet there is one critical distinction between Facebook and the others that may ultimately result in its failure.

The concern from consumers

McKinsey, a consultancy, recently released the results from its Mobile Payments Consumer Panel in which it surveyed 1,000 individuals across the U.S. surrounding their opinions on mobile payments. The firm noted:There has been buzz about the promise of mobile wallets for several years now. Yet, despite the launch (and relaunch) of dozens of applications with various added benefits beyond simply "paying with your phone," consumers are not yet broadly using these applications, and they are certainly not leaving their physical wallets at home.

There were many reasons behind this, and part of the reason was the immensely fragmented mobile payment industry itself. After all, some merchants may allow for the Google Wallet, others PayPal, and some will take neither.

But perhaps as a glimmer for optimism for Facebook is that consumers ranked access to deals and offers behind only convenience as the most important features of mobile payments. With likes and trends and all sorts of consumer information at the hands of Facebook, a mobile payment solution could provide this perfectly.

Yet the study continued by noting, "privacy remains a concern -- 68% of consumers would withhold personal information even if it means losing out on tailored offers."

The reason for Facebook to fear

It should come as a surprise to no one that Facebook has always dealt with concerns from its users surrounding it privacy. But those concerns have only intensified in recent years.

Last week the Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to Facebook ensuring if changes were made to the way customer data is collected -- which Facebook is known to do -- on WhatsApp, users would be made aware. The letter noted: WhatsApp has made a number of promises about the limited nature of the data it collects, maintains, and shares with third parties – promises that exceed the protections currently promised to Facebook users. We want to make clear that, regardless of the acquisition, WhatsApp must continue to honor these promises to consumers.

And in September the FTC raised questions about whether changes to Facebook's privacy policy violated an agreement made in 2011.

All of this is to say, if consumers are hesitant to adopt mobile payments as a result of privacy concerns, that problem would only be exacerbated if Facebook was the end mechanism.

The key takeaway

People understand eBay and PayPal at their core are involved in commerce, so they trust making payments on it. And while the same isn't true of Google, its less used social network capabilities could in fact be a benefit toward it in the payments landscape.

It is too early to tell what the motivation and investment from Facebook will be in the mobile payments space, but one has too think this could be a move in which it is only setting itself up for failure.


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