Facebook announced this week that it is partnering with PayPal and a couple of other ecommerce providers to give users the ability to autofill their credit card information in mobile billing apps. For now, the test will only work with JackThreads, a clothing store, and Mosaic, a photo book-buying app, though it will likely roll out to other sites soon.
The feature works when users decide to purchase or download an item via an ecommerce app, and add them to their shopping carts. At that point, if the user has uploaded their credit card information with Facebook via a Facebook Gift, credit or in-game purchase, they are presented with a button that allows them to autofill their financial info via Facebook. Facebook is essentially acting as a middle-man between users and the ecommerce businesses they’re purchasing from, but it could be the first step in a greater move by Facebook toward ecommerce technology of their own.
Indeed, Facebook may want to one day take over the billing process themselves. While this autofill feature will undeniably make the shopping process faster for mobile users, it may make many people uncomfortable to put Facebook in charge of so much of their financial information. Facebook has never suffered a massive breach of its users’ sensitive financial information, but it has never had as much info as it would if the site’s possible plans to enter the ecommerce market ultimately come to fruition.
Keep in mind that any time you allow a third party to store your credit card details you could be trading security for convenience.