Facebook has made no secret of the fact that it wants to get involved in the online payments game. When code for a payment button was discovered in Facebook’s Messenger app, no one was much surprised. Extending Facebook into one-click purchases seems like a natural, though somewhat troubling, extension of what the site already does. But according to Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hootsuite, Facebook may have its sights set on one of the highest targets of all: the credit card industry itself.
According to Holmes, credit card-issuing banks make around $40-$50 billion a year just off interchange rates, which is the fee vendors must pay when customers use credit cards. If Facebook could undercut those fees with their own payment service, they could potentially flip the entire payments industry overnight. Holmes also mentions that many foreign workers in the United States use money transfer services to send their wages back home, though the fees can often be astronomically high for those, too, and Facebook could make a fortune simply by entering that industry. Merchants could even accept payments from customers on Messenger and eventually cut out credit cards all together.
Even though companies like Facebook and Apple are racing to enter the payments game, it’s uncertain how customers would (or will) take to this sudden change in service from the site they’ve used for only one purpose for so long.