Mobile Payments On Facebook Easier With Autofill
September 24, 2013

Mobile Payments On Facebook Easier With Autofill

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Facebook began rolling out its 'Autofill' mobile payment feature on Monday. While the payment service was actually launched as a beta test last month, it is now officially available – but only to a small group of users and a few retailers.

The social network is apparently slowly – and somewhat quietly – introducing the service, which could put an end to typing billing details out on the small screen.

“We are working on a mobile payments test called Autofill with Facebook that gives people the option to use their payment information already stored on Facebook to populate the payment form when they make a purchase in a mobile app,” a Facebook spokesperson told Cnet's Dara Kerr on Monday. “The app then processes and completes the payment.”

The Autofill with Facebook, which is part of a partnership with PayPal, Stripe and Braintree, works by utilizing stored address and credit card information on Facebook, where retail apps that are partnered with the social network in the pilot program will display a small drop-down prompt that comes up in the payment info screen upon checkout.

Users will see a “Check Out Faster With Facebook” message and a blue “Autofill Your Info” button that slides down from the top of the screen. When tapped, users are sent to the Facebook app where shipping and payment details can be reviewed.

The app developer’s payment processor then completes a “handshake” so that the credit card and other information is securely transferred. On the front end the user only sees the last four digits of their card information.

Facebook is reportedly trying to reduce some of the frustration of mobile payments – as it has been noted that one of the most difficult and annoying hurdles for retailers is to convert mobile retail perusals into paid transactions. While many shoppers may opt to compare prices on mobile phones – often while at a retail store – the small screen, and often the lack of a keyboard, keeps many casual smartphone shoppers from becoming actual buyers.

Facebook’s platform is also not meant to be confused with Google Wallet, which now allows customers to make purchases in traditional brick-and-mortar stores via their mobile devices. Instead, the 'Autofill With Facebook' is designed in a way to streamline purchases via mobile apps.

As such, the Facebook service is also meant to be a pass through service and does not handle actual payment processing.

This begs the question as to what it might offer the social network, but according to AllThingsD it could mean more advertising partnership opportunities, as it has the potential to disrupt mobile payments beyond the autofill capability. This in turn could drive new customers to mobile purchases, which could be optimized for Facebook users.

“We’re all trying to solve the same problem: helping devs monetize and convert,” Facebook payments product manager Deb Liu told TechCrunch. “The more conversions, the more payment volume that goes through Braintree, Stripe, or PayPal [and they make their fee that way].”

“Mobile is where the conversion gap is, where our customers are going in the future,” said Liu. “It’s really important to make this an amazing mobile product. That said, we don’t rule out ever doing this on desktop some day.”

This service will now be slowly rolled out to the social media giant’s billion-strong user network, and will make its way to more retailers. Currently only Jack Threads and Mosaic are available. Both the clothing retailer and photo book-buying site are powered by Braintree. TechCrunch reported earlier this month that Braintree has had acquisition talks with Square and PayPal.