Facebook to test new mobile payment program

Facebook will partner with menswear site JackThreads for a pilot program, according to a report in All Things D. The mobile payment system intends to facilitate sales on Facebook.

Facebook 'likes' are displayed on an Apple iPad screen.

Facebook will test a PayPal-like payment feature for mobile devices. 

That's the word Thursday from tech site All Things D, which says the feature would store your credit card information, and allow you to purchase in-app products from a range of third-party vendors. Basically, the whole thing is set up both to decrease the amount of times you have to plug in your billing info and also to streamline commerce on the social network. 

It's a smart idea for Facebook: the fewer the barriers, the more likely its users are to make purchases. 

All Things D reports that Facebook's partner on the pilot test of the program is JackThreads, an online men's shopping site. 

"The new product, if launched widely beyond its current small testing phase, would undoubtedly pit Facebook against digital payments giant PayPal on mobile devices," Jason Del Ray and Mike Isaac of All Things D write.

"If eventually expanded to more partners, the product would also potentially give Facebook keen insight into the shopping habits and preferences of the company’s users, a lucrative set of data for the world’s largest social network to gather," they add. 

All Things D had originally reported that the Facebook feature would go up against PayPal.

But Josh Constine of TechCrunch says that isn't true – instead, he argues, it will facilitate payments through platforms such as PayPal. "It’s not a payment processor itself, but could help Facebook prove the ROI of its ads," he writes

Indeed, Facebook sent this statement to All Things D after they broke the story: “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.”

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