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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 01, 2013

Facebook launches gift card that can't be used on Facebook

The latest 'new thing' on Facebook isn't really very new at all. In fact, it's a rehash of the everyday gift card but with a slightly more convoluted loading and redemption process.

by Helen Leggatt

When I read about Facebook's new gift card today I had only one burning question... why?

First of all, the Facebook Card isn't really a Facebook gift card. While it is purchased from within Facebook's Gift Store, it can't be used there. Much like existing pre-paid Visa cards, the Facebook Card can be used across a variety of stores - except that variety is currently severely limited to just four retailers (Jamba Juice, Target, Sephora and Olive Garden).

Furthermore, the person who purchases the card must allocate spend amounts to each retailer, taking away the choice of where to spend the gift from the recipient. A card can hold multiple gift balances, each dedicated to a specific retailer.

"Facebook is getting into a very saturated space with a limited offering at this point," Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria told the LA Times.

Once a Facebook Card is purchased the recipient is notified immediately and, a few days later, receives a regular plastic card in the mail. Facebook-branded and personalized, the card is reusable. The next time a Facebook Card value is gifted, the value is simply added to an existing card.

Gift Card balances can be checked from within most Facebook apps.

Facebook's announcement suggests the card feature will gradually be rolled-out across the U.S. over the next few days, but no specific launch regions were mentioned.


Tags: Facebook, gift cards, gifting, online shopping, social media, social network

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