Twitter & American Express introduce “pay with a tweet”: the future of e-commerce?

12 Feb, 2013



The announcement that Twitter now offers a fully integrated payments service on its platform via American Express doesn’t come as a real surprise. The logical extension of both companies’ existing collaboration just makes sense, and is in fact good news.

The US card mogul started integrating with major social networks a while ago, including Facebook and Twitter. Amex’ Twitter Sync already allows customers to be eligible for discount deals when they tweet special offer #hashtags. To enable that service, users have to connect their Twitter account to their Amex credit card account.

Now, American Express has taken this one step further so that Twitter users can also make a direct payment. When Twitter users tweet a purchase hashtag, they receive a response from @AmexSync with a confirmation hashtag, which they need to retweet within 15 minutes of receiving it to confirm the purchase.

The card company then sends details to the merchant who ships the product to the account billing address synced with Twitter. Payment is taken from the synced Amex account. Here’s how it works:

Twitter, by the way, will not get any shares in the revenues from the transactions – but it will help the company build its reputation and increase its attraction for merchants. Also, none of Amex’ account information is shared with Twitter, removing the risk of fraud and putting concerns at ease that Twitter’s security mechanisms are fairly weak and therefore not suitable for payments and ecommerce.

The new service is not only extremely convenient, as Twitter users can respond to an offer from a merchant and purchase a product straight away, without having to leave Twitter. It is also a massive step towards true social media ecommerce with integrated payment, which is seen as major source of (future) revenue for the social networks which are able to attract huge numbers of active users.

Amex will most certainly significantly expand the number of products and services that are available for purchase via Twitter.

At the moment it is limited to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablet, an Xbox console package and a Sony camera, plus discounted Amex gift cards. It also remains to be seen whether Facebook and friends will follow suit with a similar payment service. But judging by the current buzz on Twitter and orders made by users it seems that it’s much more likely to be a “when” than “if”:

AmexSync

Storified by Raf Weverbergh· Tue, Feb 12 2013 04:40:22

Get $25 Amex Gift Card for $15 w/synced Amex Card. Tweet #BuyAmexGiftCard25 to start purchase! QtyLtd Exp 3/3 Terms: http://amex.co/W4Xub3American Express
Cardmembers Can Now Buy Products on @Twitter Using their Synced Amex Card & Special Hashtags. Watch how: http://amex.co/XCyzJHt #AmexSyncAmerican Express
My first buy: RT @AmexSync Tweet #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25 w/in 15 min to buy – $15.00 w/synced Card. QtyLtd Terms: http://amex.co/W4Xub3"Brian Lenhart
.@AmericanExpress members can now use hashtags to buy products on Twitter. http://bit.ly/128vI0PAdweek
@yxxm You’ve already Tweeted #BuyAmexGiftCard25, pls check for a reply from @AmexSync. Terms: http://amex.co/W4Xub3?BSync Notification
@AmexSync #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25JG
@AmexSync #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25Melissa Wilson
RT @AmexSync: @blueeye988 Tweet #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25 w/in 15 min to buy – $15.00 w/synced Card. QtyLtd Terms: http://amex.co/W4Xub3?Bqing
@AmexSync thank youxiuchang

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About the author

Robert Roessler

Robert has more than 12 years of experience in the international technology, telecommunications and financial markets. He advises businesses of all sizes on their communications and marketing strategies, and has worked with companies including Cisco Systems, EDS, the UK Payments Council, Interoute, Clear2Pay, giropay and MACH. His focus areas include payments technology, company funding/VC and financial technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

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