It’s been on the back burner for quite some time, partly because the announcement that Facebook would be offering its users prepaid debit cards came just days before the company went public. Now, though, most Facebook users have noticed the appearance of a small gift box, complete with a big red ribbon, that hangs out below users’ status boxes. Here’s what it means.
Remember, too, this is a classic “tangible and reusable gift card”. Card holders can take advantage of all the financial tools that help them keep their finances tidy. The question is, do we really want Facebook’s fingers in our private lives? After all, it struggles with as many, if not more, hack attempts than most any other company in the world. The Facebook Card, as its aptly titled, makes gift giving easy – and let’s face it, we love talking about all the great swag we own, have just bought or are preparing to buy. And we all love to open up our Facebook pages and see the “happy” someone left for us, right? Keep reading as we explore this new financial product and how it works.
The Facebook blog puts it this way:
After you’ve received a card…the balance on your Facebook Card, will instantly be added to your existing card.
Not only that, but the blog as reveals a user’s card can hold multiple gift balances, and each balance is dedicated to the retailer associated with the gift.
After you’ve chosen the perfect gift for your friend, family member or your favorite co-worker, you’ll then add how much you wish to send that user. This is another layer of fun (and really, this has the potential to be one of the best moves Facebook has made) for the social networking site and its users. Once you’ve gone through the gift cards and digital inventory on the Facebook site, you’ll then tell Facebook where to send it. There are two different options, which we’ll discuss in just a bit. Your friend will receive a notification that he’s just been sent a Facebook gift and from there, he’ll be sure the mailing address is right and then, once that’s done, he’ll receive either the gift card or the gift you’ve chosen for him.
There are two types of Facebook gift options:
The Facebook Card is a reusable Facebook-branded plastic card, much like the ones you already carry, that is sent to the recipient’s physical address. These can be used in traditional brick and mortar store or restaurant of your friend’s choice.
Meanwhile, Facebook Credits Gift Card are prepaid cards that are sent on line and can be used online for Facebook games or other apps that the platform accepts. You can also buy these products at retailers.
Card holders can check their gift balances right from the Facebook page – both on its desktop and mobile applications. The card holder/gift recipient is notified anytime a charge or reload has occurred via messages on their smartphones.
If you’re wondering where you can buy the Facebook gift cards, you should know there is limited availability at this time. That said, the availability continues to spread. Here are a few of the retailers, though, that have partnered with Facebook:
In the U.S.:
- Best Buy
- Sam’s Club
Remember, this is just a very small sample of the retailers. Check the Facebook site for a more complete listing. Hint: Search “gifts” from your Facebook account.
In the UK, users can find them at Tesco, ASDA, GameStation and others and in Canada, they can be purchased at Wal Mart, Safeway and Best Buy. Learn more about the international retailers on the Facebook site, too.
You can even set up alerts to remind you to send a gift card with every happy birthday you extend a friend. It’s a great convenience and if Facebook is looking to serve as competition for, say, eBay or Amazon, it’s well on its way.
As you’re browsing to find the right gift, there are a host of great ideas that are easily located. From music from iTunes to spa visits to restaurants to gourmet foods – there’s just no shortage of options. The prices are right there with the products and you can even sort the gifts so that you can see all of the recipe books or weekend getaways.
Also, there are ways for businesses to incorporate the Facebook cards into their models. They can request a place within the Facebook gift registry and you can also buy them in bulk for employee bonuses.
If you’re the recipient, you’ll soon see a Facebook email with the details. If there’s any drawback to this as a birthday gift or even a graduation gift, it’s that your recipient knows what’s coming. The surprise factor is affected – still, it’s tough to find an easier process – especially if it’s last minute. Once the gift’s been received, the recipient receives an inbox message in Facebook reminding them to send a thank you. The process is finished and from there, both you and your intended see it show up on your timelines. Note that there will be a way to change the privacy setting since some folks may not want their friends to see what they’re doing for another friend.
In recent weeks, the program officially came out of beta status and should now be available to all U.S. Facebook users. Finally, you should know the Facebook cards work just like other prepaid cards. The exception is there are no fees associated at any point. Plus, there are no worries about your credits expiring. Note though that the card itself is good for only seven years. If, however, you have a balance, you can request a new card and your balance will be added to the new card.
Is this something you would consider? What about as a business owner – would this be viable for employee gifts? Let us know what you think.
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