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Facebook To Develop Financial Systems, Payment Operations

Facebook wants to enter the world of online payments, a space dominated by Paypal so far. Actually, not true. Facebook is already there. The social networking behemoth has something called Facebook Credits -- a virtual currency that can be used to buy virtual goods within the site. These credits are not only available online, but can also be purchased off the shelf in various stores in U.S., like the grocery chain Safeway, for example. There are also several hundred million dollars the company processes online as payments from its advertisers.

Last December, Facebook filed incorporation documents with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, for a company called Facebook Payments Inc. The company has subsequently been registering Facebook Payments Inc. in various states.

According to a BusinessInsider report, Facebook is hiring a controller for the Payments business, which the company describes as a "rapid growth, very dynamic subsidiary". Facebook Careers lists the position of a "Finance Operations Project Manager – FB Payments and FB Credits" which the company is trying to fill. Lets take a look at the job description. Facebook says – "He or she will partner with stakeholders across the company including finance (revenue forecasting, tax, accounting, and accounts payable), Engineering, Product Management, IT, Operations and Marketing to ensure seamless coordination across all of the teams responsible for developing financial systems and payment operations." There is no reading in between the lines here. The company is developing financial systems and payment operations.

The question now is, what will be the breadth of Facebook's payment operations? Will it restrict itself to transactions within the platform (paying developers, sending virtual gifts, and the likes) or will it start somewhat platform-independent operations and emulate Google Checkout?

The Palo Alto company is already offering a watered down version of email in the form of Facebook Messages. If it starts offering payment services to a captive user-base, they may be tempted to linger on even further; after all, chances are entities they may be transacting with are already on Facebook, so why bother logging in to a different site, other things being equal?

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