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Overseas Health Insurance News: Expats can now make international money transfers through Facebook

Facebook has become well established among expatriates as a convenient way to keep in touch with people back home and all their latest news.

Now expats will be able to use the social networking site for a wider purpose as a money transfer service has been integrated into the programme.

People living in places abroad will be able to make transfers to those in 125 different countries across the world thanks to this new aspect of the website.

UK-based firm Azimo is behind the development, which represents a relatively low-cost way to send money to other parts of the globe.

Michael Kent, founder of Azimo, said: "Unlike other areas of financial services, social media is very applicable to remittances.

"With more than a billion people around the world using Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, it seems only natural it should become a channel for sending money."

At present the majority of money transfers are conducted through the likes of Western Union and Moneygram, with the market worth as much as US$500 billion (£323 billion) a year.

Such organisations take a large fee for the service, which has led to investigations from the World Bank, revealing that a ten per cent charge is the norm in most countries, but can rise to as much as 20 per cent in others.

The new Facebook integrated system is therefore likely to be popular with many expats as Azimo says it will be 85 per cent cheaper than what high street banks charge and quicker, with transfers taking an average of 24 hours instead of the standard five days.

Mr Kent added: "It’s cheap because it’s online. The main part is having low overheads and fewer people in the value chain."

Users can log into Azimo using their Facebook account details and select a contact from their friends list in order to transfer cash to them via whichever account suits them.

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