Is there a single tech company out there that doesn’t want to get in on the mobile payments game?
Not wanting to be the kid picked last for soccer practice, Instagram has started rolling out a native payments feature for its app. This allows you to register a debit or credit card as part of your profile, add a pin code, and then start making purchases right inside of the Instagram app.
Currently, this includes purchases like booking a restaurant or paying for a salon appointment. In the future, it will reportedly be followed by movie ticket payments inside the app. It’s not clear how many users this new service is available for, or when Instagram will roll it out internationally.
While Instagram had previously expressed interest in allowing users to book services with Instagram, this is the first time it’s become apparent that this involved an actual payment — not just booking — system.
A growing market
One of Instagram’s biggest rivals, Snapchat, began testing its own native payments and checkout feature in February.
Apple, meanwhile, launched its Apple Pay Cash service in December last year. “Now you can use Apple Pay to pay and get paid right in Messages, or by asking Siri,” Apple writes in documentation. “Split a bill. Pay a babysitter. Send cash to your son in college. Just make sure you and your friends are using the latest version of iOS and you’re ready to go.”
In all of these cases, the goal is to ensure that customers spend as long as possible in certain apps without the need to leave that portal and go and spend money elsewhere. Like the Eagles once sang, “You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.”