Facebook Payments might perform really well and I may end up red in the face… Nevertheless, this is a personal opinion about some challenges that Facebook may need to overcome before they take over the world – again.
It’s not simple enough. The ability to send and receive payments relies on both parties having a personal credit card or Visa/MasterCard branded debit card. For those who do not have a credit card or cannot guarantee they will have sufficient funds in the bank to pay friends, this is awkward. To avoid awkwardness, they may simply never join, even when their financial situation improves.
You also need to be friends with the person you are paying. This may be a great way to grow your friend list but this is not for everyone. There are plenty of times when friends bring plus ones (or multiples) to events that someone organises and pays for e.g. hens nights, birthdays, group outings etc. It’s not always appropriate to add plus ones as Facebook friends…but is it awkward to insist they send money the traditional way than to accept their friend request?
Cash still remains the simplest way to pay a friend back. They pay for something e.g. dinner/movie ticket/cinema and you pay them back or shout them the equivalent at your next outing/when you scramble enough cash. For friends based interstate or overseas, cash may not be an option but then with greater distance, people crave more security.
It’s not complicated enough. The idea of making a payment through a Social Network actually scares people. These are the folks who crave the security of logging into their bank system or using a bank issued card to access their money. The idea of trusting Facebook to make a payment is a bit scary. Even though Facebook claims they are PCI compliant and have a fraud department to review dodgy transactions, they just are not known for providing a secure enough platform to entrust them with your card details. The idea of Facebook being able to market products to you directly and give you an option to buy instantly may satisfy some but insult and scare away a lot of others.
It costs too much. For Facebook to do this, they will have to invest heavily in security to stay PCI compliant and may be liable to pay for any breaches. As they are not directly making money from this, will the costs outweigh the benefits?