Picture: Anthony Reginato
ONE of Australia’s Big Four banks yesterday opened a branch in one of the last locations you’d expect: Facebook.
The new social banking app, developed by the Commonwealth Bank, will let users make payments to friends, fund events and handle everyday banking transactions without leaving Facebook’s website, but social media experts have warned that “Facebanking” may not be popular with all internet socialites.
CommBank online banking general manager Drew Unsworth said Kaching for Facebook was an extension of its smartphone apps, and was designed to let users pay back money owed or make cash gifts to friends for birthdays and weddings.
But Mr Unsworth admitted using a social network to balance the books might initially sound like a risky investment.
“When people first hear about it they think all their financial details will be on their (Facebook) wall, but that’s not right,” Mr Unsworth said.
“There’s probably a misconception about what’s on Facebook and what Facebook has access to. They won’t have access to financial information sitting on there.”
Commonwealth Bank customers must choose a four-digit PIN and register a mobile phone to use the service for security, to receive SMS confirmation codes, and Mr Unsworth said the bank offered a “100 per cent security guarantee” to cover losses from unauthorised transactions.
“We’ve got a lot of monitoring around this type of transaction,” he said. “To make it work really well there’s a lot of stuff that happens behind the scenes.”
Facebook is regularly a target for hacking attempts, with 206 phishing attempts verified by online security firm Phishtank in January, and “malicious content” hidden in some web links, according to Websense.
Deakin University social media lecturer Ross Monaghan said security concerns, although dismissed by the bank, could dissuade some users from banking on Facebook.
He said others would choose to avoid “Facebanking” simply to avoid mixing their personal life with their finances.
“People don’t go to Facebook for financial transactions, they go there to interact with family and friends, so it seems like an odd mix,” he said. “I’m not sure whether people would be comfortable making all their transactions through Facebook.”