Social channels one-by-one are making their foray into peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat are some of many that have leveraged their connectivity to introduce quick and seamless payment options. Now Rakuten Viber (Viber) has announced its partnership with Rapyd to do the same.
Social media has taken the world by storm. According to Statista, the latest figures are expected to be 3.98 billion social media users worldwide, 4.8% more than in 2021 and 38.5% more than in 2017. Many of these users are in the younger demographics, meaning this number is likely to continue growing as we move deeper into the digital revolution.
In addition, smartphone adoption has been steadily rising, reaching 83.72% of the global population. Many see this adoption as a gateway for serving the unbanked and increasing financial inclusion. Combined with the infrastructure and connectivity of social media, it also indicates a distinct opportunity for significantly enhancing the P2P sector.
P2P payments become social
Initially led by PayPal, P2P payments offer customers easy, quick ways of moving money with contacts. Connecting accounts to an existing bankcard or IBAN allows users to make payments using the recipient’s phone number or email address. More recently, developments in technology have allowed users to use QR codes or mobile proximity to carry out transactions and streamline the process further.
According to Insider Intelligence, just under 60% of mobile phone users in the US already use P2P payments. This is likely to continue increasing steadily over the next decade. The transaction value of the payments is also growing as people become more accustomed to the facility. P2P payments are becoming a part of everyday life, and as generational usage expands, so do the potential applications.
Introducing payments into social media channels such as WeChat, Facebook, and now Viber adds a layer of interoperability to streamline the process further. Now, users could, with a quick message to their friend, request or make payment within the same app without the need to log in elsewhere. In-app charges for the service could also be kept to a minimum due to the revenue social media platforms already generate through advertising.
Viber focuses on cross-border capabilities
A benefit of the sector that has come to light is its capabilities in cross-border transactions. Just as Whatsapp messages have reduced the need to pay for crossborder messages, social media apps can reduce the cost of payments. Here, Viber hopes to establish itself as a leader with the help of Rapyd. By selecting Rapyd as its first official payments partner, Viber will enter the global digital payments market with a worldwide user base of millions of consumers and a strong reputation for security rooted in its end-to-end encryption for private communications.
“Rakuten Viber’s entrance into payments is significant both to our evolution as a company and for our millions of users worldwide as we help pave the way for the convergence of communications apps and digital payments,” said Ofir Eyal, CEO of Rakuten Viber.
“There was no doubt our in-app payment offerings would have to feature the world-class security and privacy protection that the Viber app is already known for. For this reason, we’re thrilled to have Rapyd, a trusted leader building the future of global finance, to serve as the licensed cross-border payments solution enabling us to bring safe and simple instant payments features to Viber users across borders.”
Rapyd’s APIs will allow Viber users to store money in a digital wallet with its own IBAN, sending and receiving money with no fees. Initially starting with Euros in Greece and Germany, they expect to roll out quickly to serve Viber’s global user base.
“The future of payments is integrated fintech, and this partnership demonstrates why we founded Rapyd in the first place: to democratize fintech for all,” says Arik Shiltman, CEO of Rapyd.
“We’re proud to provide the infrastructure and licensing for global companies like Rakuten Viber to develop their own financial services without them having to build the foundation from scratch. Through this partnership, Rakuten Viber can confidently step into the world of payments and become a leader in embedded finance, supported by Rapyd.”
Isabelle is a journalist for Fintech Nexus News and leads the Fintech Coffee Break podcast.
Isabelle's interest in fintech comes from a yearning to understand society's rapid digitalization and its potential, a topic she has often addressed during her academic pursuits and journalistic career.