The massive social network is hoping to start powering smartphone and tablet based shopping for others.
Facebook has just confirmed recent announcements that have been made at several reputable media outlets which indicated that it is now testing a new mobile commerce and payments system in which consumers would be able to use credit card data stored on Facebook in order to make purchases through third party apps.
This represents a tremendous move by Facebook to step into the smartphone and tablet based shopping channel.
In order to use the mobile commerce system through Facebook, a user would be able to log into the social network using his or her credentials there so that a payment can be triggered and a transaction can be completed within a third party retail app. Like other digital wallets, this concept would help to eliminate the tedious and time consuming task of entering the 16 digits of a credit card number into shopping sites and apps every time a purchase is to be made, and would help to increase confidence in the security they feel in the purchase.
This mobile commerce move hones in on the same concept that Amazon has achieved in its one-click payment.
It accomplishes this through the mobile commerce idea of stored credit cards within a trusted site, as opposed to entering those digits into unknown and untrusted online shopping sites. That said, it differs from Amazon because Facebook would allow its payments service to be used at third party sites, as well, instead of remaining exclusively in its own marketplace.
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Many people are already wondering what impact this could have on PayPal, though it is important to keep in mind that this mobile commerce venture remains in its testing phase and has not been confirmed as an official program that will move forward with any certainty. It should also be remembered that Google attempted to make a similar move with its Google Checkout. At the time of its launch, it was believed that this could present a massive threat to PayPal, but instead, it barely managed to get off the ground and was unsuccessful.
Another question that has been raised about this mobile commerce service is whether or not consumers will actually trust Facebook with their credit card numbers. Though some already have done so with the Gifts service, this does not represent the vast majority of users and that number wouldn’t represent enough to consider the program a success.