Facebook has announced that it is working on a system to remember payment credentials – such as credit card numbers, addresses and expiry dates, so that it can “pre-populate” fields in applications with this information.

If you visit an e-commerce site or app and go to make a purchase you’d normally have to type in your credit card and billing address information on your phone. That’s a hassle that discourages people from actually buying things.

Facebook’s idea is that you will see a button that says something like “Use my Facebook Billing Info.” This would give Facebook permission to allow access to the billing info you’ve previously stored with Facebook. With one click, your address, card details etc. fills in automatically and you can hit the “Confirm Purchase” button.

This is very similar to the way you can have your phone browser fill in shipping, credit card details and passwords automatically.  This works in  ChromeInternet Explorer   and in Mozilla

Two important points:

(1) Facebook does not do the payment – it passes the card info to a merchant who uses their existing payment processor – for example PayPal, WorldPay, etc.

(2) When you use Browser autofill, your credit card details and other info are stored on your PC – so you have the responsibility of keeping it secure. In this case, consumers will have to trust Facebook to keep the info secure and not pass it on to thieves. Facebook users trust Facebook to keep secret much more than their credit card details.

If this test is successful and is made generally available (its currently being tested with a US based clothing retailer), Bango sees a couple of opportunities arising:

(1) If a user is logged in to Facebook, and Bango can determine that Facebook has card details on file, Bango can then offer payment using that credit card to that user.  This could be instead of single click mobile operator billing if the commercials make this better for our content provider customers.  (Bango is able to process payments on Visa and MasterCard networks.)

It is similar to the way Bango offers PayPal to users that we know have PayPal accounts, and how we remember credit card details from previous transactions within the Bango system.

(2) Bango provides an API to our customers to enable the assessment of risk of transactions with a customer, based on the previous behavior of that device, that user and that phone number.   Bango could offer this service to e-Commerce merchants who target mobile to help them reduce the risk of chargebacks or fraud.

Bango is always looking for smoother and more streamlined billing options to embrace within the Bango Platform for our customers – so this could be beneficial to them in the long term, but Mobile Operator Billing does have the supreme ease of use of “one click” and is available far more widely than credit cards.