Enlarge / Facebook Pay is one of many payment services aimed at eliminating the “phone, laptop, credit card” clutter by offering easily accessible one-tap payment options.
In August of this year, Facebook made its payment service Facebook Pay available for the first time outside of its own platforms. Facebook’s announcement describes the move as providing a mobile-friendly seamless checkout experience for businesses that choose to use it, and indicates that Facebook users are already using the service to send money and items in Facebook stores and shops the Facebook marketplace.
Facebook’s announcement doesn’t have much meat in it, the mostly feel-good bullet points that apply to the entire online financial industry, not just Facebook Pay – for example, the system’s use of encrypted storage and the fact that companies that use Facebook Pay accept, you don’t need to manage customers’ card or bank account numbers. While these features sound good at first glance, they’re both a must-have, not an innovation – most online stores already use third-party payment processors who manage credit card and bank account numbers for them.
Facebook guarantees that the credit card and bank account details of Pay users will not be used to “personalize their experience” or to advertise in a targeted manner. The company also says payments and purchases will not be shared with a user’s friends or on a user’s profile or feed. However, it is worth noting that these are expressly separate promises. Facebook does not promise that payments and purchases will not be used for “personalization” or ad targeting.
A look at the blog post on privacy issues from Facebook Pay makes this last point very clear:
As with our other products, the actions you take with Facebook Pay can be used to deliver more relevant content and ads to you, provide customer support, and promote security and integrity (e.g. to investigate violations of our payment policies). . For example, if you buy a baseball glove on the Facebook marketplace, you might see an ad for a baseball bat. On the plus side, at least the direct email marketing generated by Facebook Pay activities is an opt-in and not an opt-out; The same blog post states, “Businesses and nonprofits are only allowed to use [your email address] for marketing purposes when you sign up. “
Facebook Pay’s first steps outside of the Facebook ecosystem will only take place in Shopify stores, but the service is expected to expand to other shopping platforms and payment processors over time.