Social media giants Twitter and Facebook are gearing up to face off over online payments, both making bold steps into the online commerce space.
Twitter has announced it is to buy CardSpring, a payments infrastructure company, while Facebook is testing a "buy" button to let users shop directly from the social media platform.
Announcing the acquisition of CardSpring, Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce, said: "As we work on the future of commerce on Twitter, we’re confident the CardSpring team and the technology they’ve built are a great fit with our philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users."
Hubbard, who previously worked at American ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster, was hired by Twitter last year as part of its drive to transform the social media site into a platform for online commerce.
CardSpring, headquartered in San Francisco, enables retailers to offer card-linked rewards and promotions, using technology from First Data’s Offerwise.
Twitter’s plans to enter online commerce were leaked during February when pictures emerged showing plans to enable transactions through online marketplace Fancy.com. Twitter was reported to be working with Stripe for online payments at the time.
This month, Fancy appeared to accidentally reveal more of Twitter’s plans when a "Buy Now" button appeared on the website that linked to a checkout page within the Twitter mobile app.
The suspected leak led to speculation that Twitter may be planning to add an option to have a "Buy Now" button appear on some Tweets.
Meanwhile, rival Facebook is testing a similar "buy" button to let users make purchases directly from its website.
Online or mobile users can use this button to buy items through advertisements or other posts on the social network.
This is not the first time Facebook has tried allowing transactions – the social media platform launched Facebook Credits, a virtual currency for in-app purchases in 2011.
Facebook Credits was abandoned in 2012 after enjoying only limited success.
Facebook said users’ personal information would not be shared with other advertisers while making transactions.
”We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind," Facebook said in a blog post.