Facebook made another big step toward world domination today, by tying up a deal with Target to put gift card versions of its Credits on sale. Yep, retail meets e-tail. Virtual currency made plastic. The cards, which go on sale on Sunday, Sept. 5, are available in three sizes: $15, $25, and $50–although the lowest increment is exclusive to Target. Which says a lot about Target customers. And, it seems, Facebook.
It’s a logical move for Mark Zuckerberg’s gang–after all, his chum Sean Parker estimated earlier this year that Facebook’s Credits system would account for around one third of the social network’s revenue. So having it available in as many forms as possible instead of merely the bank of Mom and Dad–i.e. their bank cards–is not a bad idea at all.
Earlier this summer, Facebook signed a deal with MOL Global, a firm that brings virtual credits to real stores via its terminals in Asia and Australasia. And it’s not the first go at turning teens’ cold hard cash–the carwashing, the babysitting money–into something that can be used online. In March, Rixty, purveyors of online accounts, and Coinstar, the one-time change converter, signed a deal to allow loose change to be converted into vouchers for online use.
There is, perhaps, a silver lining to this, however. As well as demonstrating that Facebook may be looking to extract money from people with a bad credit rating (and therefore no credit card), as well as potentially paving the way for check cashing services to offer Facebook credit and Lotto cards as part of the deal, perhaps this could be one way of teaching your kid about the value of money. “You wanna buy the FarmVille, son? You gotta save your money and buy your own credits at Target. I’ll grab a three-pack of tighty whities while we’re there.”