I am a believer in the potential payment opportunities afforded by Social Networks. That’s why when I read about Twitpay, I immediately went out and signed up for an account. Signing up for Twitpay was fairly simple. I followed Twitpay on Twitter, and then claimed my account on the Twitpay.me site. Twitpay sent me a direct message with my Twitpay pin. I was then able to login to Twitpay using my Twitter username and my newly assigned Twitpay pin.
Sending a payment promise to one of my Twitter friends is also fairly trivial. For example, if I wanted to send my brother a payment for lunch I would tweet something like this:
@soninlaw twitpay $5 for lunch. I can track who I owe and who owes me from the visually appealing Twitpay website.
Actually settling your payment obligations is a little more complicated. Selecting “Settle Up” from the Twitpay site takes you to the Amazon payments site and prompts you to login using your Amazon credentials. Like most people who would use Twitpay, I already have an Amazon account. However, I had never linked my checking account to Amazon, and you have to link a bank account to Amazon in order to settle your Twitpay obligations. I also had to settle twice: once with Twitpay (they charge .05 cents per payment) and once with the recipient of the funds.
The recipient of funds must also sign up for Twitpay and Amazon. Once I send the recipient a payment through Amazon, they must accept the payment (I believe this is an Amazon requirement). If they don’t accept the payment with in 24 hours, I have to go back into Twitpay and settle up again. Amazon takes a cut of the final amount delivered to the recipient.
Although Twitpay shows promise, it is not yet ready for prime time. The Twitpay site is a bit buggy. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer had problems with some of their pages and at times the site just wouldn’t load at all. In addition, I’m not convinced that managing payments via Twitter warrants the inconvenience of three sets of logins (one for Twitter, one for Twitpay, and one for Amazon) and an additional fee (Twitpay takes 5 cents for every payment). I am also not thrilled about broadcasting all of payments to anyone who cares to read them. For Twitpay to work, I have to leave all of my updates available for public consumption.
If Twitpay is to live up to its potential, it will need to provide a good reason for me to use them instead of PayPal and Amazon. As it stands today, Twitpay makes it easy to tell people I will pay them, while using PayPal, or going directly through Amazon, makes it easier to actually get people their money.