Friendster — long waning in the U.S. but still a force overseas — has partnered with MOL AccessPortal Berhad to power a prepaid payments platform for its 115 million users globally.
The introduction of this payment platform, through its stored value Friendster Wallet system, is a critical step towards the social network’s ability to monetize its user base.
It will give Friendster the ability to develop other revenue streams surrounding virtual goods, gifts and games.
The service will initially launch in Malaysia, and will be rolled out within weeks throughout Southeast Asia and globally.
“We’re excited to work with MOL, as they’re a payments platform leader throughout our major markets in Asia,” Richard Kimber, chief executive officer for Friendster, said.
“Just like PayPal eliminated ‘payment friction’ in the globally successful eBay marketplace for buyers and sellers, MOL will help Friendster deliver many new and important revenue streams by seamlessly powering a wealth of premium entertainment and content features,” he said.
MOL is a leading payments provider and claims to have a network of over 500,000 physical and virtual payment channels across more than 75 countries.
Friendster Wallet credit is stored as currency called Friendster Coins and can be spent throughout Friendster’s site for goods and services.
Friendster said the wallet would also include a non-monetary, marketing and incentive based currency called Friendster Chips — funding incentive based promotions, educating users on how the wallet works, as a marketing tool, and as a loyalty program to encourage continued prepayment and spending on the site.
It said consumers would be able to buy prepaid payment cards for the wallet throughout Asia at convenience stores such as 7-Eleven as well as kiosks and cybercafes.
The wallet will also support mobile payments from Singtel GX Credits and Indosat iPay and will accept online banking payments from Maybank, CIMB Bank, RHB Bank, Citibank, UOB and DBS. It also accepts American Express, Visa and MasterCard.