Facebook users can already use their login credentials to access multiple sites around the web; now, the social network wants to take it a step further with a mobile payments service. Facebook said it would begin testing the service in the next month or so, with the first partner expected to be JackThreads, a flash-sale shopping site targeted at young men.
The way the service is intended to work is by allowing users who already have credit card information stored on the social network to make purchases using their Facebook accounts. While the thought of giving Facebook credit card information sounds off-putting, the social network already requires it to buy “Gifts” or in-game purchases. With the planned payment system, customers will be able to make purchases with one click and avoid entering billing details for each transaction.
However, there is a crucial difference between this and other mobile payment services such as Google Wallet. While other services allow customers to use their mobile devices to make purchases in physical brick-and-mortar stores, Facebook’s service will only offer the ability to make purchases in mobile apps. The service fits with Facebook’s goal of advancing its mobile presence and expanding into new areas, as well as serving as a way to collect information about users’ buying habits, but the benefit for customers is not so clear. There is a clear similarity to the already widely-used PayPal, but with the additional drawback of trusting Facebook with even more personal information than it already has.