Previous assessments about the new “Let Facebook Input My Billing Info”, are adjusted.
In response to statements made by All Things D that Facebook is emerging as a payment processing competitor to other brands (like PayPal and Braintree) through which, Facebook members may purchase gifts, Tech Crunch provides an alternative perspective and provides information about what the feature has actually been created for.
According to Tech Crunch’s source, Matthäus Krzykowski, an online payments expert, the concept of Facebook becoming a payment processing provider overnight, with the simple application of a billing-information form, is both ludicrous and impossible given the level of technology, security, and financial red tape that would accompany the service thus, playing down the possibility of previous assertions.
It is explained that the new Facebook feature serves a different purpose altogether. It has been created to assist the online payment process of gifts, games etc off the Facebook website, with swifter check-out functionality. The consumer clicks to make a purchase, at which point “Let Facebook Input My Billing Info”, appears and stored details from previous purchases can be, automatically, plugged into the real-time payment. It is emphasized that once this occurs, the transaction is directed to whichever payment provider is allocated to the product, be it PayPal or any other.
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The real payoff for Facebook, and according to Facebook, is to measure ROI (return on investment) for advertisers: Facebook will be able to monitor what is being sold in order to feedback to advertisers as Facebook’s very own sales pitch to the website’s sponsors.
But the most interesting piece to this story is that Krzykowski does not altogether eliminate the possibility of Facebook as payment processor: “The simplest way to think about a competition with PayPal would be to imagine Facebook as Visa or American Express. To compete, Facebook would need to get the status of an ‘acquiring bank’ and build up a lot of the know-how and manpower that companies like Visa or American Express have. This is not what this news is about. If it happened – and it’s a huge if, we would easily see this coming.”
While Facebook’s explanation of the feature seems to be quite legitimate, there is no telling what the social media giant has planned for the future. Perhaps Pay Pal will be met with a competitor after-all…and many it won’t.