Payments Are A $557M Business For Facebook — That Could Expand From Games To Apps

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Within Facebook’s S-1, the social network revealed that its Payments business is bringing in $557 million in revenue per year. As the company explains, it currently requires Payments integration in games on Facebook. But according to the filing, Facebook is considering what could be very big moves in the payments space.

From the filing, Facebook writes that “we may seek to extend the use of Payments to other types of apps in the future.” It’s not specific about what these other apps are, but they could include anything that somehow uses Facebook. Dating apps, social shopping apps, news-reading apps — who knows? The filing is meant to paint a broad picture of where Facebook is headed, and the line could just be a simple aside for potential investors. But still, any developer running payments in a way that connects to Facebook should keep it in mind.

Currently, via its payments product, Facebook is taking a 30 percent cut of all payments of virtual goods transacted within games on the network. Zynga accounted for approximately 12% of Facebook’s revenue, much of which was comprised of revenue derived from these payments processing fees. Payments are a huge revenue generator for Facebook.

Facebook says that in the future, it will be invested in ‘enhancing’ payments offerings and “in making the Payments experience on Facebook as convenient as possible for users and Platform developers.” the company also states that financial results each quarter will be based on the Facebook’s “ability to increase payments and other fees revenue.” Facebook is also anticipating a rise in payment processing costs as the company “increases Payments volumes and add new payment methods.”

Some of the challenges to a more expansive payments products, says Facebook, are regulatory issues on the U.S., Europe and in other countries. From the filing: To increase flexibility in how our use of Payments may evolve and to mitigate regulatory uncertainty, we have applied for certain money transmitter licenses and expect to apply for additional money transmitter licenses in the United States, which will generally require us to demonstrate compliance with many domestic laws in these areas. this refers to the fact that Facebook has been creating separate entities for its Payments product.

There is certainly no guarantee that Facebook is going to become the next PayPal, but considering the amount of times the payments business was mentioned in the filing, as well as statement of the potential plans for expansion, it could be a significant business in Facebook’s future as a public company.