12 February 2016

Facebook worms into wallets with plastic gift card

01 February 2013  |  8050 views  |  4 Facebook card

Facebook has launched a reusable gift card that people can buy on the social network and send to friends for use at specific retailers and restaurants.

US Facebookers can buy cards for their friends, load it with the amount they want, and choose whether it is to be spent at Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora or Target.

The recipient is notified instantly about the gift, and will receive a Facebook Card in the mail a few days later. As soon as it arrives, they can use it at the retailer chosen for the amount gifted.

The cards are reusable so that after a person has received one, future gifts will instantly be added to it, rather than a new piece of plastic being sent through the post. Cards can hold multiple gift balances, each one dedicated to the associated retailer.

Balances can be checked in account settings on Facebook from users' phones or desktops, with real-time notifications sent when there are changes.

Facebook's efforts to increase revenue from payments have seen mixed results so far. In its quarterly earnings, posted earlier this week, the firm revealed that revenue from payments was flat at $256 million, with the Gifts business pulling in just $5 million.

Comments: (4)

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 01 February, 2013, 10:57

If you cannot beat them, join'em.

Most of the companies in the "mobile payments" disregard that great mobile payments instrument - a card. Yet, "re-imagined" card can be an attractive alternative to a mobile phone-based payments.

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David Abbott - Fiserv - London | 01 February, 2013, 16:16

Cant agree with you on this one Alex....   How old fashioned is this?   This is going to get a big yawn from the facebook userbase in my view  to them  they want it all - and they want it now.... instant gratification....  this is just a mail order service... for a product that is going to rely on Breakage for its model to work....  Why do this, why send a limited outlet product, forcing your giftee to spend where you insist they spend  - when you can give someone the $20.00 you owe/gift  them via your mobile wallet???  (ok - maybe not.... maybe the $20 you owe them thing didnt work either!!! )

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christopher williams - rtpay inc - delray beach | 04 February, 2013, 04:50

This is a weak initial play in what is going to be the marketing story of the next ten years. All the big players now understand that payment processing is a great marketing function, linked with incentives for repeats. Separating payments into store-specific balances is not the way - but i am sure Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. will change that soon. The question is whether Visa and MasterCard join the ad-based pricing, or stay tied to the banks - who can only see processing as a direct income generator. Either way, that is in its last days as a business model.

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A Finextra member | 04 February, 2013, 20:50

Not what I would have expected; an innovative online network moving to a 'traditional' plastic gift card strategy feels like a backward step to me. Solutions of the future will not rely on physical cards and the slow logistical processes behind them.  Yes, why shouldn't Facebook operate in the physical environment, but use digital tactics to take them there, such as mCoupons (created as gift coupons) that can be delivered instantly when the consumer is in the vicinity of a store or on the morning of the person's birthday with a Happy Birthday text message!  Further, the plastic gift card won't provide the analysis of what was actually bought to inform future targetted and relevant gifts and offers.

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