Having said in April that it plans to add “100 or 200” payment options worldwide for Credits, Facebook has announced that another one is coming within the next couple of months: MOLPoints.
MOLPoints is a virtual payment service offered by MOL AccessPortal Berhad, part of Malaysia-based internet company MOL Global, and most popular in southeast Asia. The deal makes sense. Facebook has been growing fast in the region over the last year — Indonesia gained the most new users out of any country in the world, last month, with 25.9 million according to our Global Monitor report. Many people in the region have been joining specifically to play third-party social games on the site, so the addition of MOL should make it easier for these users to by Credits then spend the virtual currency on virtual goods in the apps.
Credits can already be purchased directly by credit card, including Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Discover and JCB (a Japan-based international credit card company), or through Paypal or mobile payments provided by Zong. The virtual currency can be earned by participating in offers provided by TrialPay and Peanut Labs. With this deal, MOLPoints can either be used to buy Credits on Facebook or buy them on MOL’s own site.
MOLPoints is itself an intermediary currency that people buy using real money, then use to purchase a variety of other online content and services, including online game subscriptions and Friendster Coins (note that MOL Global bought Friendster last year). It can be purchased using a wide variety of local and international banks, pre-paid cards and mobile providers.
Overall, MOL says the currency can be bought through more than 540,000 physical payment locations in more than 75 countries, and or through 88 banks in 9 countries. It says it processes more than 60 million transactions for an annual payment volume of $200 million.
We expect Facebook to continue expanding to more regional payments partners to help it make money from its international user base, even as it signs up more developers to exclusive contracts and experimental trials. While developers are unhappy about the 30% fee that Facebook takes out of purchases (and other costs), new payment options like MOLPoints could help more developers start seeing new revenue from the currency.