Is ‘Buy with Facebook’ Finally Coming?

  • JJ Hornblass
  • July 6, 2016
  • 2

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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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at hornblass@gmail.com or 212-564-8972.

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