How companies like Facebook or Google use mobile payment APIs

How companies like Facebook or Google use mobile payment APIs

The quartet of major technology companies GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) are looking for solutions and launching platforms to take over the mobile payments industry: Android Pay, Apple Pay, Facebook Messenger and payments using selfies on Amazon.

BBVAOpen4U
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10 Aug. 2018

The large technology companies are ravenous. Most of them have achieved a gigantic market valuation: some of them form a quartet known as GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple). All have important interests in e-commerce and mobile payments, with either products, platforms or solutions already on the market or a defined strategy to have them. Google is the search engine giant boasting a mobile operating system with huge penetration (Android); Amazon is the large e-commerce benchmark; Facebook is looking to get started and Apple has Apple Pay.

Google is the world's great company. If it were not for Apple's huge thrust, the great search engine would be an almost unbeatable company. Recently both 'supernovae' were fighting for first place to be the company with the highest valuation on a global level. In February this year, the search engine caught Apple after a long spell without being knocked off the top spot. In any case, although Google's big business is based on advertising revenue, mainly from its Google Adwords platform, the company has managed to diversify its revenue sources: $75 billion in 2016.

Those companies that have better understood the new scenario within Information Technology, essentially conditioned by the emergence of mobile devices, specifically smartphones, are those that generate revenue more easily. In 2008 Google launched its own mobile operating system, Android, from which it currently obtains over $31 billion a year in revenues (2015 data). Of these revenues, nothing belongs to the Android Pay division at the moment because the market itself has prevented, unlike Apple Pay, charging fees… at least for now. 

Mobile payments with Apple Pay and Facebook Messenger

The situation with Apple Pay is radically different. From the outset Tim Cook's company raised charging fees on its platform as a means of exploiting the product. The Cupertino-based company imposed a rate of 0.15% of each total amount paid through the mobile-payment platform. The reality is that Apple Pay's numbers have not stopped growing since it was launched in October 2014, especially in the American market. 

Apple's mobile payments solution is gradually gaining greater penetration rates. According to data provided by Business Insider, Apple Pay has a total of 10 million handsets with contactless technology worldwide, 2.5 million of which were outside the US in April 2016. Two months earlier, in February 2016, that number was reduced to 2 million. Apple Pay had already been launched, besides the US, in countries such as China, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Singapore, with growth of one million users per week and with five times more volume of transactions compared to April 2015. Its main goal is to get the lion's share of the mobile payments pie compared to solutions like Android Pay, even without knowing how to market them. 

Facebook is the other big Internet advertising giant, which has set a target to also expand its power in the mobile payments market backed by its control of smartphones thanks to satellite companies like WhatsApp and Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg's company is, without a doubt, the company that has best understood the user experience and the commercial possibilities of the smartphone. Now with mobile payments.

In a recent report on the payment mean the Information, benchmark on the contents on startups and the digital economy in the world, the idea of the Menlo Park-headquartered company is to exploit this market through its instant messaging platform, Facebook Messenger. As with Google, 75% of expected revenues in 2016 for Facebook will come from advertising, specifically ads on mobile devices. This company has the best prospects. Its obsession is to continue growing in its control of the smartphone and diversify income-generating markets: for example mobile payments

For them they have an application with great potential for penetration, Facebook Messenger, although in the instant messaging field it has great rivals in some major countries like WeChat and Telegram; the best possible knowledge about consumer habits and tastes of the more than 1.4 billion users that its platform boasts; and also a great experience in managing the mobile user experience and advertising in that user interface. All the components are given to squeeze the most out of mobile payments.

In addition, Facebook has grown in exploring new areas of innovation such as designing conversational interfaces, chatbots, use of natural language processing and machine learning with the purchase of promising companies such as Wit.ai. All the necessary components are in place to bring products and services related to users and to facilitate their acquisition without complex processes, even without removing accounts or credit cards. The market understands that a full commercial experience can be worked on as has been achieved by one of the great rivals in this sector, WeChat.

That was the reason that in 2014 Facebook hired David A. Marcus, former PayPal executive and current vice president of messaging products of the Menlo Park company. The plan is to manage to get Facebook Messenger to become a commercially-exploited platform that monopolizes the market compared to its rivals. Zuckerberg has set his eyes on mobile payments. 

Amazon and selfie use

A few months ago Amazon submitted a request for a patent by which users could complete the authentication process prior to a purchase through a selfie or a personal video, instead of using other methods such as a regular password. According to information published by the technology medium Re/code, the e-commerce giant believes that this resource type provides greater assurance than a password, which can be forgotten or stolen relatively easily. In fact, Amazon is not the only company that has already tried this out: for example, Mastercard has tested conducting selfie payments. 

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