Facebook is Building a New Payment Operations Team

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By Eric Eldon Comment

Although Facebook has been talking about building a payments service for years, the project has only slowly rolled out.

One big part of payments, its Credits virtual currency, launched more than a year ago and the company began testing it with third party applications starting last May.

But now, things are picking up. Most recently, a posting on Facebook’s job listings for the position of “Strategist, Payment Operations” describes the company creating a new payments team:

Facebook Payment Operations is a brand-new team that ensures, monitors, and reports on all money moving into Facebook. As a founding member, individuals have an opportunity to shape this team’s culture, role within the company, and day-to-day operations. As part of the Online Operations organization, we work cross-functionally with the Product and Engineering teams to design tools and systems to serve our hundreds of millions of users and our ever-growing base of advertisers. Projects driven by Payment Operations team members will potentially contribute millions of dollars to Facebook’s business, as well as enable the company to scale and expand its operations in the coming years. Successful candidates for this job are self-motivated, flexible to constant changes and are problem-solvers who think creatively and propose solutions.

This team appears to be an expansion of the “Billing, Payments and Fraud team” that Facebook is separately hiring for.

Why is the company only now creating a specialized team to handle payments? Because it is clearly a revenue growth area. Estimates from several months ago suggest that Facebook’s gift store brought in at least $75 million last year, although the company does not disclose revenue breakdowns.

One reason for the new team could be that the company simply wants to expand payment options for advertisers, especially internationally. For example, when it expanded payment options to 14 currencies last June, this applied to both advertisers and credits-purchasing users. Facebook’s performance ad business has done well over the last year, and new payment options could enable it to grow even faster.

Meanwhile, Facebook has also been planning the expansion of Credits on its developer platform. It has been busy talking to big developers about implementing Credits as a payment option in their games. Already, CrowdStar’s new Happy Island game launched last month with Credits as its exclusive method of payment for virtual goods.

Some rumors have also suggested that Facebook will force all third-party developers to adopt Credits. We don’t know exactly how Credits will be introduced on Facebook’s platform — the company may use other tactics for favoring the currency, like promoting “Credits-enabled” apps in its application directory. This exact feature appeared in test screenshots (above) that surfaced last fall.

We are more certain of something else, which is that developers can expect to pay a transaction fee to Facebook of around 30%, similar to the cut Apple takes from developers who build apps for its iTunes App Store. This is probably one reason why the above posting says “[p]rojects driven by Payment Operations team members will potentially contribute millions of dollars to Facebook’s business….”

So we’ll see what happens. Here’s more about the job, from the posting:

  • Respond to contacts from users and advertisers regarding a variety of payment or billing issues
  • Gather and synthesize relevant data, suggesting improvements in the tools and techniques to help scale the team
  • Collaborate with engineering and product teams to drive projects to completion
  • Prototype and test new tools with engineering teams
  • Respond/represent chargebacks related to user and advertiser charges
  • Assist broader Online Operations team in optimizing Facebook’s revenue channels
  • Mentor junior teammates in daily roles and continuing professional growth
[Images via Jesse Stay.]
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