Facebook has just launched the first live integration of its payment service for applications this weekend, a first step toward what could become a major new source of revenue for the company.
The payment system, called “Pay with Facebook” to consumers, is now live in 3 applications: GroupCard, Birthday Calendar, and MouseHunt, Inside the apps, users are able to purchase premium items which can be paid for with any major credit card or Facebook credits. Facebook credits are the first payment option listed in the user interface.
When users click the “Pay with Facebook” button, a new popup appears showing the total price in Facebook credits and offering Facebook credit purchase options. Facebook bills the credits to a credit card you have on file, or you can enter a new credit card in the popup window. Full screenshots are below.
Now that Facebook is starting to roll out its virtual currency payment service to platform applications, demand for Facebook credits should increase dramatically – which would mean substantial revenue increases for Facebook. With the Facebook Platform economy estimated to be potentially as high as $500 million in total transaction values this year, Facebook could potentially add several million dollars to the bottom line simply by capturing a small piece of the overall market.
Social game developers and monetization firms should certainly be paying close attention to Facebook’s move into payments. Right now, the alpha test is only live with 3 applications, though those interested in participating in the test can let Facebook know through this form. The speed with which Facebook rolls out the test to more developers likely depends on how well this initial batch of tests go. Based on how long it’s taken for the initial test to get rolled out, we’re guessing the tests will be pretty limited for at least a couple months while Facebook works out all of the operational kinks.