Would You Pay With Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

A former IBM executive's startup may someday soon let your customers pay by using their social media accounts.
Business Writers
April 04, 2012

A former IBM executive's startup may someday soon let your customers pay by using their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts.

Paycento, a one-click payment system, is currently in private beta testing, and the company is trying to raise roughly $6.5 million from venture capitalists.

The Belgium-based startup will let customers pay so-called "casual micro payments", or small amounts, with just one click, pretty much the way they use Facebook's "Like" or "Share" buttons. Founder Pieter Dubois, 41, thinks the system will work particularly well for digital goods such as newspapers and music–letting people buy just one of something easily and quickly, instead of having to buy an entire subscription, which turns off a lot of consumers.

He told Reuters that payment would be speedy, mostly because people are constantly logged into their profiles.

“Those social identity networks also are really identity providers … so we piggyback on that,” Dubois said. “It’s like a one click payment on the internet.”

He added: "We want to make it economical for the merchant, for the publisher to offer something at any price point, that means both at 10 cents, at five cents and at one euro." He said a major European publisher was testing the service, but declined to name it, citing confidentiality.

Dubois said he hoped the full system would be available in June or July. (To hear Dubois talk about the system, click here.)

Shea Bennett, the co-editor of AllTwitter, pointed out in a post that neither Twitter nor Facebook hold a user's financial details. More importantly, he wrote, "neither is a particularly reliable indicator of identity (it’s easy enough to setup an anonymous or fake profile on both), which means that Paycento would near to bear this responsibility."

Plus, he wrote, if your financial and identity details are on your Paycento account, "why do you need Twitter and Facebook at all? Wouldn’t it be just as simple to check out via a Paycento button, much like we do with Paypal?"

Would you yourself pay for something by using a social network? Would you consider implementing a system that allowed that for your business?