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Facebook trialing in-app mobile payments platform

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is poised to launch a new payments platform enabling consumers to make purchases within mobile applications using their Facebook login information, AllThingsD reports.

Sources familiar with the social networking giant's plans said any shopper who has previously provided Facebook with credit card account information will be able to complete purchases across partnering mobile apps without re-entering their billing data. Facebook is kicking off the pilot in tandem with Thrillist-owned JackThreads, a flash sale site targeting the young male demographic.

Facebook confirmed the payments trial to AllThingsD but did not supply additional details.

Moving into the mobile payments segment pits Facebook against a host of competitors, most notably eBay-owned PayPal, which supports 132 million digital wallets across 193 countries. PayPal mobile handled almost $14 billion in payments in 2012, more than triple the prior year, and is on pace to exceed $20 billion this year. "It sounds like a dead-on competitor of PayPal," Forrester Research retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told AllThingsD.

"We have a great relationship with Facebook and expect that to continue. Our customers love using PayPal on Facebook," a PayPal spokesperson said in a statement. "We've been investing in mobile payments since 2006, and last year 10 percent of our total payment volume--$14 billion--was from mobile devices. However, we always welcome competition and are looking forward to seeing what Facebook will announce."
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