Is ‘Buy with Facebook’ Finally Coming?

Whatever happened to the “Buy with Facebook” button?

Back in 2014, Stripe confirmed that it was working with Facebook on a “Buy” button for the social media giant. From Recode:

Facebook first began testing a “Buy” button within the News Feed in July [2014], and payments startup Stripe has been tasked with powering the technology, Re/code has learned.

The 'Pay with Facebook' button during its 2014 test.

The ‘Pay with Facebook’ button during its 2014 test.

The “Buy” button, which allows Facebook users to purchase goods that are featured in ads or posts on the social network, is still in its test phase, but multiple sources said Stripe’s technology was supporting the button. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed [on Sept. 25, 2014] that Stripe is the sole Facebook payments partner behind the test.

And then … nothing. No, such service was released, and Facebook’s payment’s business has since declined. Last quarter, Facebook generated $181 million of payments revenue, down 11% from the previous quarter and 20% lower than in the first quarter of 2015.

Facebook enabled peer-to-peer payments via Messenger in March 2015, and recently added a menu option, “Send or Request Money,” to the main Facebook app highlighting the feature.

But that might be coming to an end, as rumors imply. A source who visited with Facebook recently told Bank Innovation that the social media company is indeed working on a “Buy with Facebook” button for use within the social media timeline. In certain locations — Thailand is an example — quite a lot of commerce takes place within Facebook timelines. Now, these transactions are more ad hoc. The buy button, obviously, would grease those e/m-commerce skids, and give Facebook a piece of the payments action. Facebook already offers peer-to-peer payments. Ads on Facebook today allow consumers to “shop,” meaning go to a retailer’s website, but not “buy” within Facebook.

“Buy with” buttons are hot today (see recent news from Google, Pinterest, and Shopify), especially after Apple introduced its “Pay with Apple Pay” for desktops last month.

Bank Innovation has reached out to both Facebook and Stripe for comment. We will update this post accordingly.

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