Instagram has added an in-app feature that allows users to register a debit or credit card and set up a PIN as part of a profile, enabling purchases without leaving the site. The has been gradually adding shopping features over the past year, expanding the function into European and Latin American markets earlier this spring and integrating with Bigcommerce and Shopify in the fall of 2017.
Parent company Facebook has made its move into native commerce, previously rolling out features in Messenger with its payment service in 2013. It would make sense for Instagram’s payment service to work with its “Shoppable Tags” that first rolled out in 2016. Those tags let users see what products were in a post and tap through to buy them on the site for the products.
The in-app payment service did not only let people buy things but also allow them to make payments to friends. In February 2018, Snapchat also began testing native payments and check-out feature. Making the purchasing experience faster and more convenient could boost Instagram’s role in commerce.
Although the in-app feature is only available through a limited set of partners and businesses on Instagram, including dinner reservation app Resy, Instagram users will soon be able to use the app to make payments for things like movie tickets. Some users in the US and the UK have access to the payment settings.
As of now, Instagram shopping partners like Warby Parker and Kate Spade don’t support payments within Instagram. It’s not clear if Instagram will be taking a cut of the revenue from purchases or if this is just another way to encourage brands to advertise on the app. Some might be wary of putting payment information into Instagram as it has been the target of massive hacks in the past that gave up information from user profiles. In 2017, millions of users saw their phone numbers and email addresses stolen in a hack.