Paypal and Facebook Look to Solidify Their Relationship

Facebook and Paypal are continuing to cosy up, and as they stare deep into each other's eyes, they can see the dollar signs flashing. This blossoming relationship is gradually becoming steady, with Messenger now offering Paypal payment for 'next-generation shopping experiences' (buying second-hand crap you don't really need from people in your area) that are 'frictionless' (you don't think about the money you're spending). The last frictionless next-generation shopping experience I had was buying some used brake pads. That didn't end so well.

The details of 'ushering in this new commerce paradigm' (jumping on this new way to make $ - I will continue to translate as necessary) are emerging as follows:
  • Paypal will appear as a payment option on a multitude of Facebook's commerce areas, including in Messenger.
  • Facebook users can easily link their accounts with their Paypal accounts.
  • Paypal customers in the US can get receipts sent to their Messenger inbox to consolidate Paypal communications.

Paypal and Facebook have already been getting through the flirtation stage, with Paypal's Braintree subsidiary partnering with Messenger and Uber to allow users to hail and pay for an Uber within the Messenger app, helping merchants buy ads on Facebook, and helping businesses sell through the shop on their page. This announcement solidifies the bond and marks it as one that will spread until every page has a Paypal pay button and you can tip your friends if they send you a particularly funny meme.

It also accompanies the rise of the chatbots. No, not Robert Downey Jr-voiced AI friends, but rather an automated chat service that lets sellers flaunt their wares through the medium of Messenger. These interactions can already accept user's debit or credit cards, but Paypal are of course keen to step in and skim off their take. Convenience is king, however, and I'm sure most users are happy to use Paypal rather than have to enter their card details into yet another site.

The whole shift follows the increasing trend for social media networks to try and amalgamate more and more features into their arsenal, from finding shows and booking tickets to making drones for their users. Of particular interest to the platforms are those user interactions and transactions with direct financial benefit such as these commercial ones.

Paypal's experience with smoothing this type of transaction and their large user base of 192 million users explains Facebook's willingness to allow the monetary integrations, despite the two previously having a bit of a rivalry. What Paypal stands to gain is clear, with the gates opening to Messenger's user base, which broke 1 billion a while back.

It chimes with Paypal's inexhaustible quest for expansion, announcing deals with 'Visa, MasterCard, Telcel and Claro, Vodafone and Alibaba, in our bid to drive broader customer choice in payments through partnership' (more ways for people to pay us). It appears the blooming relationship is an open one, though, as Facebook has been doing it with others too, garnering deals with Stripe, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, not just PayPal.

The incessant commercialisation of your inbox is inevitable given how profitable it looks set to be for the payment gatekeepers. Facebook and Paypal's reconciliation shows just how profitable, and indeed it looks like they might be catching feelings for each other. Hope eBay's not getting too jealous.

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