The yet unnamed service enables mobile payments with Facebook credentials
Facebook is testing a service which will allow its members to authorise mobile payments using their social network account.
According to AllThingsD, the as yet unnamed product will allow anyone who has previously entered their credit card details into Facebook to make purchases in certain mobile apps.
The feature will use Facebook credentials for a more streamlined mobile checkout experience. However, businesses that implement it will still be able to use the services of a third-party payment processor like PayPal.
The new feature essentially extends the capability of Facebook’s “single sign-on”, which allows website and app developers to ask for Facebook credentials, rather than forcing users go through a separate registration process.
Facebook is currently testing the concept in partnership with JackThreads, the men’s fashion online-only store which makes a lot of business through its mobile app.
At the moment, the majority of people who have added financial details to their Facebook profile are gamers – most social network games operate on a “freemium” model, which offers the basic experience for free, but charges for extras that give player an advantage or raise their social status.
Another group of users who have already registered their cards with Facebook are the people who have been shopping for gifts. Since the beginning of 2013, the social network has operated its own ‘Gifts’ shop which sells little items like jewelry, chocolate and flower baskets.
Facebook’s revenue from payments and other fees stood at $214 million in the second quarter of 2013. In comparison, Facebook’s revenue from advertising during the same period totalled $1.6 billion (£1bn).
Besides improving its e-commerce capabilities, the new product could help Facebook aggregate valuable data about its members’ shopping patterns and preferences, something that its Beacon spectacularly failed to achieve in 2007.
In future, the social network’s huge member base could enable it to compete with PayPal, Google Wallet and hundreds of other ways to pay for goods and services using a smartphone.
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