News & Views - Savantor

Trust is the issue

Friday, 29 May 2009

It seems like anyone and everyone is jumping on the financial services bandwagon these days. Following Tesco’s move towards a greater presence in the market we had M&S, John Lewis and Boots all looking to beef up their offerings. We now hear that Virgin are considering an internet bank and Facebook is to start testing a payment system with application developers "in several weeks" according to venturebeat. Although tests involve a small number of developers and details are still being discussed, such an initiative would provide developers with the possibility of integrating a Facebook-branded payment system into their applications. Thus, application developers would accept payments directly inside their Facebook application and users could conduct transactions and purchase virtual and physical products and services without using third party payment platforms such as PayPal. According to venturebeat such a platform would incorporate a "universal currency" associated to a user's login, allowing members to offer their payment related details only once, while transactions could be made both within Facebook and across third parties using Facebook Connect.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of consumer mistrust of banks which seems almost on a par with their mistrust of politicians. A survey by S1 showed that trust in banks among consumers has been pushed to an all-time low finding that only 9% of consumer respondents are currently confident in financial institutions. The public furore over political expenses is a good example of how disaffected the British public are in institutions they previously trusted. It seems that big name retailers and social networking sites are becoming the sources of financial stability consumers look for during the recession rather than banks.

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