Facebook has started accepting payments made through mobile phones in India in exchange of credits. The social networking giant which rolled out the service in US, UK and Germany last month, has chosen to partner with Zong, a paypal service to enable mobile payments in India.
The company first announced its intention to enable mobile payments on its platform in February 2012 and last month, the feature was rolled out in US, UK and Germany through carrier billing in partnership with Bango. It also works with Boku to enable similar payments.
To streamline payments flow, Facebook said that once the carriers support it, developers could integrate the Pay Dialog to their apps to minimise the steps involved in payment. The company said that the number of steps to make a mobile payment has been cut from as many as seven to two.
Facebook supports payments using credit cards, PayPal, Mobile phones, gift cards and local payments methods (see list). Local payment methods available in India include MOLePoints, Moneybookers, Western Union QuickPay and Visa Electron. Mobile networks like Airtel and Uninor support Facebook payments in India.
Ebay Inc, the company which owns PayPal bought Zong in 2011 for $240 million to push its way into mobile commerce. Zong works with companies like Bigpoint, the largest gaming portal in Germany and others like IMVU and Habbo. Similarly, Boku and Bango enable companies like Electronic Arts, Opera, and Opera, Research in Motion among others.
For companies like Facebook and Linkedin, India’s mobile market holds a lot of potential. Linkedin has about 17 million users in India and is reportedly going after 89 million white collar workers the country has. Facebook has over 60 million users in India.
For the social network which reported over 1.01 monthly active users worldwide in September, mobile users in India, Brazil and emerging markets are a source of future growth. India has over 900 million mobile phone connections held by 300 million people.