Twitter probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of mobile payments, but the company has just made a big play in the mobile commerce space. The microblogging site today announced the acquisition of payments infrastructure company CardSpring to help with “the future of commerce on Twitter.”
CardSpring gives developers the ability to add their own applications to the payment network so retailers can apply discounts and coupons at checkout and customers don’t have to mess around with offline coupons. It also runs CardSpring Connect, a service that helps merchants manage the creation and deployment of special promotions for their businesses using services like FourSquare.
The company says it will work on growing its platform and continue to work with publishing, financial, and retail partners following the Twitter acquisition. In other words, it’s business as usual at CardSpring for the time being. Over on the Twitter blog, things were a little more forward-looking with Twitter praising the CardSpring technology as a great fit for Twitter’s “philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users.”
Twitter and CardSpring might not have much to talk about right now, but Twitter has been dabbling in mobile payments since last year. The company recently partnered with Starbucks to allow customers to ‘Tweet-a-coffee’ to a friend, which actually just sends a gift card to the person in question and then charges the sender’s credit card (linked in their Starbucks account). CardSpring’s whole business is based on card-linked offers, so it’s not hard to see why Twitter saw the company as an attractive buy in the first place.
The news of the acquisition comes hot on the heels of Visa Checkout SDK, which was announced earlier this week in San Francisco, and also focuses on making things easier on the merchant side. The Checkout SDK allows developers to create in-app purchases without having to deal with the hassle of processing payments themselves. It also means they can trade on the trusted Visa brand with their users, because although customers always want paying to be as easy and as painless as possible, shoppers won’t spend anything unless they think the system is secure.