A new feature from Rakuten Bank, unsurprisingly called "Transfer by Facebook," is being touted by the bank as the first of its kind in the country and is brilliantly simple to use.
Launch the Rakuten Bank app, pick the Facebook friend and then enter in the amount to be transferred. There's no need to know the other person's banking detials. It even works if the friend in question has an account at another bank, although it's not quite so seamless.
If the recipient doesn't bank with Rakuten, he or she will receive a URL and be asked to designate an account, but then the transfer will go through.
Although the jury is still out on mobile payments, and in particular whether replacing cash and credit cards with a smartphone is a good idea, there is a growing demand for simple peer-to-peer payment systems.
The feature could mean that there'll never be arguments over splitting the bill at a restaurant, for instance: One person pays and everyone else transfers their share via Facebook. Likewise, social networks are a great way of planning group holidays and nights out, and with the app they become an equally great way of collecting everyone's share of the cost.
Rakuten has been at the forefront of simplifying money transfers. It launched a transfer-by-email system back in 2002, 11 years before Google hit on the same idea.
However, it can't claim to be the first bank in the world to offer a transfer-by-Facebook service. In May, Singapore's OCBC Bank launched its Pay Anyone feature, which lets users transfer money via Facebook, email or SMS.