WePay Inc. continues to distinguish itself from other online-payment services by soliciting groups and organizations using social-networking sites. The company recently integrated with Facebook Events and Facebook Groups to enable groups to collect funds online through the social-networking website.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company in April released a public beta version of its payment site designed to enable groups, organizations, associates and individuals to collect, manage and spend funds (see story). 

By integrating with Facebook, WePay now offers groups two applications: Sell Tickets and Collect Money. Sell Tickets enables users to sell access to any event they advertise on the site, and Collect Money supports funds collection from any Facebook group.

Group members may make payments using their personal bank accounts through the automated clearinghouse system or with credit cards, Rich Aberman, WePay co-founder, tells PaymentsSource. WePay’s application redirects the payments made through Facebook to WePay’s website, which keeps the payments secure through multi-factor authentication, encryption, e-mail confirmation and a managed cloud-computing infrastructure.

Users pay no fees to set up a group or an event on Facebook, Aberman says. The only fee WePay charges is a service fee, which is either 50 cents per ACH payment or 3.5% of the total per credit card payment, Aberman explains.

WePay looked to Facebook to expand its payment services because “we realized that most groups using our site already use Facebook,” Aberman says. “Every time a group signed up on our site, they would also design a separate Facebook page for the event or collection.”

Moreover, “we also saw that recurring groups such as sports teams and fraternities had groups on our site and Facebook, so we wanted to be the company to help them collect money in both places,” Aberman notes.

Besides Facebook, WePay also plans to integrate its application-programming interface with other social-networking sites, Aberman says, declining to name the other sites.

The company also has plans to work with CampusLive to enable college students to collect rent payments online from their roommates, Aberman says. CampusLive is an online site that provides students with various resources such as e-mail, academic portals and social-media sites.

For a new payment scheme, “WePay is smart to integrate with Facebook,” Red Gillen, a senior analyst with Boston-based Celent LLC, tells PaymentsSource. “Facebook is like an ecosystem of payments similar to eBay Inc. So it’s a good strategy because it helps [WePay] find the payers and payees.”

However, “eBay is all about transactions, whereas Facebook is not, so the company’s revenue may be impacted. But in the long run, it still is a good first step for the company,” Gillen says.

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