A startup that creates innovative ways for groups to send money to each other, Akimbo, also enables Facebook users to easily share funds with their friends, with all transfers free of charge and occurring instantly.
The social-savvy platform has a traditional financial-transactions back end. In order to share money with friends, Facebook users must register with Akimbo, link their bank accounts, and reveal their mailing addresses.
Akimbo says it “turns shared expenses into shared experiences.” For example, Akimbo’s iPhone app can be used to pay friends back for concert expenses. When transferring them money, users can attach pictures from the concert to the Akimbo transaction. These pictures can then be published to Facebook when the transaction is submitted.
Users will start seeing Facebook wall posts like, “John just paid Suzy back for dinner,” in their News Feeds. It may feel a bit strange to see public posts about money changing hands, but the transaction amounts won’t be included — just the fact that money changed hands, along with any associated message, photos, etc.
How viral will public financial transactions become? Public displays of shared activities with shared economics could become the norm, with the money part adding sizzle to normal sharing activities. Facebook users may be intrigued by social activities and money exchanges, and check out Akimbo, leading to a viral loop for its products.
Akimbo users can also share money with non-Facebook friends via email addresses and phone numbers that identify them as fellow Akimbo users.
Akimbo Card has a real-world business model to go along with its social mechanics. The company provides customers with prepaid debit cards and uses traditional automated clearinghouse infrastructure to route funds between user accounts and to store merchants.
The company also just announced a way to share five prepaid “sub-cards” with other people. Sub-cards can be given to babysitters, used as kids’ allowances, etc. Sub-card users spend the money from single Akimbo accounts, instead of Akimbo transferring money to five different bank accounts.
Akimbo is really pushing this size of friend group — five maximum on the cards — to bring social mechanics to traditional prepaid debit cards. Money is transferred to Akimbo, and then spent via the Akimbo cards.
Readers: Do you feel comfortable sharing money across the Facebook platform?
Note: Readers who are interested in trying out Akimbo Card can get $5 added to their accounts by using the promo code “allfacebook” while registering.