By Larry Magid

MENLO PARK (KCBS) — Facebook plans to test a new mobile payments feature that will let people pay for purchases just by being logged into Facebook, the social networking giant announced Thursday.

Under the service, a user would register their credit card with Facebook in advance (many people already do this because they play games or on Facebook for things that require transactions) and when they want to make a payment, the would just log in with their Facebook credentials, rather than digging out their credit card number.

The user benefits from ease of use and the merchant benefits because it means more sales are completed. Facebook, of course, benefits in a number of ways including data acquisition and whatever kind of transaction fee they get.

Facebook described the experiment as a “very small test” and the company said there was no set schedule for making the service available to users.

There has been speculation that Facebook is looking to take on Paypal and other providers of those services that allow their services for billing. Paypal has already put out a statement that they welcome the competition, to which Facebook said it has a “great relationship with PayPal”Paypal and the two companies are partners.

Facebook also indicated the service it is testing won’t involve moving payment processing “away from an app’s current payments provider, such as PayPal.”

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)


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