What won’t Facebook do! As if it weren’t enough that Facebook is virtually everywhere in our lives and that we check the social media page so often through the day, the site has added itself in yet another, very physical way to our lives.
Called the Facebook Card, this is a reusable, physical card made of plastic that lets users actually buy things from actual, not virtual stores. Four companies are on board right now- Target, Oliver Garden, Jamba Juice and Sephora. Facebook calls it a gift card of sorts and it works like that too.
This is how the reusable gift card works. You choose a gift for a friend. For this, you need to go to the site’s Gift Cards & Digital category. Here you can choose anything that can be redeemed from one of the four stores we’ve previously mentioned. You choose the amount and your friend gets notified and then receives the card in the mail a few days later. All your friend needs to do is use it at the retailer you’ve selected for the amount you’ve paid up.
Website shopping isn’t allowed as yet on Target and there’s no word yet on the websites of other stores. Your friend can redeem the card at any of the stores of the retailers.
Remember we said the card is reusable? That means you can use the same card to store different gifts from different stores. So while your first-time gifts arrive in the mail, just like the card did, the other gifts are loaded instantly and electronically to the same card. While there are multiple balances on the card, each retailer has a balance dedicated to him, individually. Balances are not cross-distributed between stores and you can have different balances at each store. Use Facebook to check your balance, through your desktop PC or your phone. You’ll also get a notification from Facebook when your balances change.
We don’t know a lot about the actual vendors who’d be in the program and we’re not sure about how the card recipients will receive the card in the first place, given the fact that they will not be providing the mailing address on the website. Perhaps there are other methods to reach the product to people, bypassing the website and without having to share on Facebook.
If you think about it Facebook has been in the gift card business for quite a while now. Remember the iTunes digital gift card during holiday season? In fact last year, Facebook actually began to offer physical items and not just virtual gifts. Now with the offer of the Facebook Card, the company has a way to move away from the virtual world into the actual, real world. What could be next? Microfinance, maybe? Using the Facebook app could do away with the need to carry money around, acting as a sort of mobile wallet.
The card’s being rolled out in a phased manner in the U.S.A and though we don’t know about the other countries yet, we’re sure plans are in the offing. So shop away. There’s a new way to buy things and it is fun.
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