Facebook is 'weeks away' from tackling virtual currency in Europe with new service

Facebook wants to become your main electronic money institution in Europe, it's claimed.

According to the Financial Times, which cited unnamed people familiar with the social network's plans, Facebook is “weeks away” from receiving regulatory approval to become a electronic money institution and digital payment processor.

It's just waiting on approval from the central bank of Ireland, where Facebook’s has headquartered its non-US arm. Once things get a green light, you'll be able to send money through the social network to Facebook friends or online sellers.

The new service would allow Facebook to better rival Google and its Google Wallet service, as well as gain revenue from transactions and collect data on spending habits for pushing targeted ads.

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It’s assumed however that the service will be limited to Europe and not available in the US, though that is unclear at the moment, and we've contacted Facebook for clarification. We will update when more details are known.

Keep in mind that Facebook has experimented with virtual currency in the past. It offered a service called Facebook Credits up until 2011, which let Facebook users spend credits on apps and digital items.