At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past February, Facebook
This is a big deal, and it could put Facebook front-and-center when it comes to making mobile payments easier to obtain for businesses and simpler for customers to transact. Previously, taking and making payments on Facebook via mobile devices required six or seven steps, the biggie being SMS identification, which verified that a customer's device could access his or her account. According to Taylor, this issue kept many users from completing transactions.
Developers were equally frustrated, not only because they knew they were losing money, but also because of the myriad companies and interfaces they needed to deal with for the system to work. Now all they need to do is tie in to Facebook's platform using the site's API and they'll be good to go. Facebook has taken care of the rest, teaming up with carriers in more than 60 countries to make it all work seamlessly.
So far, not every carrier has signed on for the new, simpler system. In the U.S., AT&T
It seems obvious that Facebook wants to be a player in the mobile-payments field, and it makes sense that it would want to do so. The company has nearly 1 billion users, along with multiple developers from which these users can purchase virtual goods. The site has recently launched the Facebook App Center, where the company corralled all of its apps -- something that, combined with the new payment system, speaks to a maturing platform and a serious concern regarding payment convenience for both its developers and users.
I think Facebook will continue to grow its mobile-payments program and that the communications companies that keep up with them will benefit. After all, with a captive audience like Facebook's, how can they go wrong?
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Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vodafone Group Public. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.