Facebook has been wading through the shallow end of the payments pool for years, but if a test the company is readying is any indication, it could be getting ready to go head to head with the big boys (like PayPal).
All Things D says it has confirmed that Facebook is indeed testing a new payments product that would allow shoppers to make purchases on mobile apps by simply using their Facebook login info if they've provided Facebook with their credit card info. The test, the report says, will launch in the next month or so, with JackThreads as a pilot partner.
Facebook has been toying with payments for quite some time, and would seemingly be a natural fit in the space due to the user identity factor that is associated with one's Facebook account, all the data it has about user habits, and of course the sheer breadth of its coverage (over a billion users).
Last year, Facebook launched an updated mobile payments flow, which would allow for carrier billing. In other words, you would buy something from an app, and it would be billed to your carrier.
This new product would take things a sizable step further.
PayPal, confident in its own legacy in the space, has said that it welcomes competition, but Facebook is playing down the notion that it is even trying to compete. The report shares a statement from the company:
We continue to have a great relationship with PayPal, and this product is simply to test how we can help our app partners provide a simpler commerce experience. This test does not involve moving the payment processing away from an app’s current provider.”
It can't hurt users to have more options, and there is probably a significant number of people that have a Facebook account and no PayPal account.