Facebook gets into the mobile payments business

Newest test would allow users to permanently link their credit card information to their Facebook login

By Elizabeth Smith
September 13, 2013 2:15AM (UTC)
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Facebook is getting into the mobile payments services industry. Move over PayPal? According to a variety of sources, including The Associated Press, Facebook has “a very small test” in the works for its new mobile payment platform. Although as of yet there is no set schedule for when this service will go live, it might just change the way you shop online, particularly on mobile devices.


How It Works

AllThingsD reports that the newest test would allow users to permanently link their credit card information to their Facebook login, which could then be used to make purchases on a large number of partnering websites. As of right now, Facebook says that it has no plans to handle the actual processing of the payments, and will continue to use third party payment processing services like PayPal and Braintree.

A representative from Facebook explained the set-up to Forbes:

“The test is designed to make it easier and faster for people to make a purchase in a mobile app by simply pre-populating your payment information. It will be a very small test with 1-2 partners. Additionally, this test does not involve moving the payment processing away from an app’s current payments provider, such as Paypal. We continue to have a great relationship with our payment processing partners, and this product is simply to test how we can help apps provide a simpler commerce experience.”


Why It Matters

For many, Facebook’s new payments test may seem like a natural extension of all the things Facebook already does for us. After all, we can already use our Facebook information to log on to any number of websites, therefore saving ourselves the agony and frustration of remembering a million different sets of login information. Still, some posit that this new service is not an entirely altruistic move on Facebook’s part.

Venture Beat explains it like this:

“There are two big incentives for Facebook to have its own PayPal competitor. One, it can generate revenue by taking a small cut of each transaction. Two, and maybe more importantly, it gets people to put their credit cards on file and gives Facebook more insight into its users’ shopping habits.”


Even if the service’s only purpose is to gather more information about me and my shopping habits, I am probably still okay with that. After all, if it saves me the trouble of re-entering my credit card information each and every time I want to make an impulse purchase, it is probably a good thing, right? Right.

I, for one, welcome our new Facebook overlords.


Would you save your credit card information with Facebook? Have you considered the possibility that, in the very near future, we will be able to use our Facebook profiles in lieu of a government issued passport?

Elizabeth Smith

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