Facebook gets into payment solutions


27 September 2013

The popular social network Facebook has apparently ended its payment solutions experiment and begun rolling it out to the public this week. Tech blog AllThingsD is reporting that the social network’s new feature, “Autofill with Facebook,” has been deployed as of Monday. The new service is exactly as described—once users take the option of filling in their payment information, such as credit card details, into the the Autofill fields, they can save this information, shop online, and automatically pay for their transactions with their saved payment details.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook has partnered with payment experts Paypal, Stripe, and Braintree to bring its Autofill feature to two e-commerce companies JackThreads and Mosaic. According to the article, this implementation appears to be additive, rather than competitive—the social network is not trying to take business away from these partners, but rather, work harmoniously with them. It remains to be seen whether the company will, in the future, attempt to take the reins by processing payments itself.
On the surface, this appears to be a highly convenient feature for users that will help them make their mobile shopping experience even quicker. An obvious comparison is services like Amazon, which stores users’ payment details in their profile and lets users quickly purchase items in their virtual shopping cart with one or two clicks. However, while Facebook actually has a good record of security, it also has a reputation playing fast and loose with user privacy, sharing and selling personal information in various updates. It remains to be seen whether the convenience factor of Autofill will transcend the company’s reputation.