Monday, 3 May 2010

Vkontakte rolls out online payments

Russia's Vkontakte is launching its own online payment system and branded plastic card, exploiting the explosion in social networking sites.

The payment system will be similar to those launched by Yandex.Direct and Google.

The paying system Merchant API will allow site users to pay with Vkontakte web-money in online shops. Some 30 Internet stores selling household appliances, anti-virus programmes, flowers and other goods have introduced a "Buy Vkontakte" button under each item.

Now Vkontakte, which has already been working with paying systems QIWI and WebMoney, is looking to cash in directly.

"Now [Vkontakte] is mostly mixing with people, but it's very useful for them to pay for the services from their page," said Boris Kim, head of the payment systems committee at the National Association of E-Commerce. "All the major social networks - Facebook, eBay, China's Alipay and QQ - have their payment systems."

Confirmation of payment will be sent to users by SMS, and the service will be free except for some small fees charged by the QIWI payment service.

Currently, rival services such as Yandex.Money and are mostly used for paying for mobile phone services, books and music.

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