Instagram has slipped an update out without really saying much about it. The new update allows Instagram users to make payments via the app to a limited number of partners. The payments service allows users to register a debit or credit card as part of their profile and then set up a security PIN.
Once the payment source and PIN are setup, users will be able to pay directly on the app for services like hair salons and restaurants. One of the very first to offer this service is Resy, an app for making dinner reservations. Instagram has also stated that in the future users will be able to pay for things like movie tickets directly via the app.
Instagram had previously announced that it would roll out service booking ability, but never mentioned the ability to pay for those services within the app. Payment settings are visible right now for some users, but not all Instagram users in the U.S. Some users in the U.K. also lack access to payments right now. Instagram Payments use Facebook Payments rules; Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012.
Facebook began to roll out its own payment service in 2013 and can make payments peer-to-peer within the app as well. 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.
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.