May 8, 2018
Late last week, some Instagram users discovered that the social media site had added a feature enabling payments without leaving the app. Instagram confirmed media reports that it is testing a feature that will enable users to book appointments or reservations with a “limited set of partners” and pay using a linked payment card directly from the app.
Some businesses that use the dinner reservation app Resy are among the first to enable reservations and payments directly through their Instagram pages. Instagram announced a forthcoming booking feature in March 2017, but did not, at the time, allude to a connected payment feature.
Engaging in e-commerce through social apps has become prevalent in other countries—notably China—but is only just rolling out for U.S. users. P2P payments have become available through social apps, including Instagram parent Facebook’s Messenger platform, but direct selling through social media sites in the U.S. remains rare.
Direct payments are an evolution for Instagram. The company began testing “shoppable tags,” which enabled users to tap images of products they wanted to buy. But users were directed to the merchant website.