Update at 2:42 PM: Twitter has shut down the in-stream purchasing that Ribbon debuted Wednesday morning, and Ribbon CEO Hany Rashwan provided us with further explanation. Our new story can be found here.
Ribbon is one of several payments startups drawing new attention that is focused on one thing: removing the irritating qualities that come with purchasing things online. We’ve written about Ribbon before, namely how the company wants to let people make purchases just by clicking a link. And on Wednesday, the company plans to announce an even simpler way to buy: through Twitter.
Users on Twitter who come across merchants selling items through Ribbon will be able to tap the tweet to expand and complete a purchase without ever leaving Twitter. Ribbon had previously optimized its links so that users could purchase items through both Twitter and Facebook, but recent updates to Twitter’s Cards technology will extend this capability even further.
The idea? “Let’s just keep the buyer where they already are,” CEO and co-founder Hany Rashwan told me. “It’s a one-page check-out.”
In a demonstration, Rashwan showed me how to tap a tweet with a Ribbon link embedded, enter my credit card information, and hit purchase, all without leaving the expanded tweet. He said they’re working on improving the service so that once users make a purchase on Ribbon through Twitter, they won’t have to enter their credit card information a second time.
“We’re utilizing a part of the new cards technology,” noting that the company has also been supporting in-stream purchases on Facebook for a few months, and that the company has “tens of thousands” of merchants selling, although he would not disclose specific numbers.
As we wrote previously, Angelpad alum Ribbon has built its own payment system that lets it avoid fees and sets it apart from competitors, many of which use companies like PayPal or Stripe for credit card processing. The company is also updating its fees for merchants selling through Ribbon — it will now charge 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, rather than the previous 5 percent plus $0.30 per transaction.
As we watch apps like Ribbon start to incorporate payments into Twitter’s stream, it’s easy to see why Twitter would want to expand the different types of Cards technology it offers, and how the company might start to allow transactions like Ribbon payments to happen on the site — potentially benefiting both Twitter and the payments companies.