Payments next in Messenger’s disruptive path

Written by on March 30, 2016 in Billing & Payments, Opinion with 0 Comments

angelIn the same way that Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and AnyOther Pay slotted themselves in between the traditional card payments industry and the customer, Facebook’s Messenger might be about to go one better by utilising all of them.

If the rumours are true, payments will be enabled through Messenger. Insiders have seen code in the app that points strongly at the company doing this and supports our long held (two year old) theory that you don’t poach the founder of a payments company in order to develop an app that is only about chat.

Facebook says, actually Mr Zuckerberg says, that the company will cooperate with any and all payments providers and he thinks that Apple Pay is ‘a really neat innovation’. According to Apple Insider, “specifically, the (Messenger) app will allow customers to “pay in person” or “pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item.”

If Apple Pay is one of the payment methods ‘baked in’ then this really does put Facebook in the front line – literally – of the payments game.

This, of course, answers some critical questions.

Questions such as ‘when the advertising industry finally realises that is simply fuelling a global customer irritation campaign what happens to companies whose businesses rely on advertising?’ And the answer to that, for the likes of Facebook, is ‘bad things’.

Ever since Facebook floated, we have wondered about the viability of the company. How, we asked at the time, can you successfully take a ‘social network’ and make it into a ‘commercial network’ without switching off your customers. The answer is ‘with difficulty and by basing your business on advertising revenue’. A very one-sided model that relies on getting the balance between value and irritation right.

Now it makes more sense. David Marcus, founder of PayPal, said that the goal for Messenger is for customers to be able to do anything and everything through the app. When you ask Millennials which apps they use, they will all say ‘Messenger,’ far more than other messaging apps such as Skype and even SnapChat (even though whatever you send disappears in 10 seconds, it is still ‘out there somewhere’).

For digital natives in particular, and others as well, if you can seamlessly pay for almost anything within the app, this might just be the answer to the fragile business model that Facebook has been following up until now.

We said they were betting the farm on Messenger, and they might just pull it off.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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