Register your card, set up a PIN and start buying things without ever leaving Instagram.
In a world swirling with controversy over fake news, bot accounts, and roughshod privacy tactics, it’s nice to know there’s one social media outlet that is still just duck-billed selfies and photoshopped celebrities. Instagram, despite its ownership, has as-of-yet seemingly stayed out of the political fray and just let you post annoying Boomerang of you and your besties jumping up and down at the beach.
But a new innovation on the platform stands to make the site a little more useful in terms of practical, everyday applications. The site has quietly launched a payments platform within the accounts, so users can purchase items that corporate or sponsored ad accounts sell.
Quick and easy
According to TechCrunch’s report on this new feature, “It lets you register a debit or credit card as part of a profile, set up a security pin, then start buying things without ever leaving Instagram. Not having to leave for a separate website and enter payment information any time you want to purchase something could make Instagram a much bigger player in commerce.”
While this function is powered by Facebook’s payments engine, the best part of Instagram’s in-app payment function is the seamless ability to purchase an item through a post on the platform. That might seem like dangerous ground in a click-to-buy world of instant gratification, but depending on its uses, it can also be a game changer for startups and new brands with a limited number of products to sell; leaving Instagram to make a purchase means a significant chance that the user may never follow through. Of course, there are other convenience level applications for this, such as booking restaurant reservations, ordering from a delivery service, or buying movie or concert tickets without having to follow through a link.
The ol privacy chestnut
The chief concern, of course, always comes back to privacy, especially in the era of GDPR. Gathering and storing someone’s payment information and personal data puts the platform at risk of both hacking and the consequences that follow. If Instagram is rolling this out (so far in limited markets in the US and UK), there had better be some strong security to back it up.