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Need to pay a Facebook friend? Now you can

Fresh from its crowning as New Zealand's best online bank, ASB is set to unleash its latest innovation: enabling users to make payments directly to their Facebook friends.

ASB Mobile Facebook friend paymentsThe new version of its mobile app, launched last month, allowed customers to transfer funds to others without requiring that they know the recipient's bank account. Rather, cellphone numbers and email addresses can be used to verify the transaction.

And from mid-July, ASB Mobile users will be able to send and receive money via Facebook. (Now you'll have no excuse for not repaying your mate who shouted you lunch when you forgot your wallet the other day.)

Any un-retrieved funds will be credited back to the payer after 14 days.

ASB is a bank that's embraced Facebook, through the establishment of its virtual branch app and other initiatives like its Prize Index promotion.

“Kiwis are increasingly engaging with friends, family and businesses through social media and on average they have more Facebook friends than the typical Facebook user globally,” says Anna Curzon, ASB’s general manager of brand experience and digital channels.

“We know from talking to our customers that they are seeking out quicker, more convenient, and safer ways to make payments that reflect their lifestyle. The next step in this evolution is being able to seamlessly make payments from their smartphone, using Facebook as a channel."

One aspect of the revamped ASB mobile app that had punters grumbling was the restriction that meant it could only be used on one handset – which seemed at odds with the fact that increasingly mobile users are juggling multiple devices.

That, too, will be addressed in the new release, with support for multiple devices.