Following an announcement at the Mobile World Congress this year, Facebook is now officially rolling out a new, 2-step mobile payment flow that developers can include in their Facebook apps via Facebook’s Payments API. This comes as a major improvement to the social giant’s original, carrier-powered payment process, which took 7 steps and required information to be typed in manually.
With this update, it’s easier than ever for users to pay for services, games, upgrades, etc. made by Facebook app developers, as all purchases are simply added to your existing phone bill. This direction comes in stark contrast to Apple’s “we handle and own everything” technique, making the two seem at odds with each other once again. Clearly, Facebook doesn’t envision mobile providers as just “dumb pipes.”
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At this point, the new mobile payment flow is integrated into most US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) and UK carriers (O2, Orange, Three, Vodaphone and T-Mobile), as well as select carriers in over 60 countries. There is no word about Verizon integration, which would be quite important for US users.
However, this flow for mobile payments can be long, with a total of up to seven steps, including SMS verification. At Mobile World Congress this year we announced an improved mobile payments flow for mobile web apps. Today we are starting to roll it out. This low friction (two steps) carrier billing is now available on the majority of carriers in the US and the UK and will be rolled out to additional operators worldwide.
The payment flow is simple. Users who want to pay for a virtual or digital good in a mobile web app open the payment dialog and confirm their purchase. This payment flow requires no typing and looks like this:
Facebook notes that developers that have “already integrated Facebook Payments on the mobile web don’t need to do anything to benefit from this new flow.” But, if you haven’t embraced it and are looking to do so, check out these instructions and tips for using Facebook’s Payments API here. To see the new payment flow for yourself, you can visit SkyScraper City on m.facebook.com.