Is a Social Credit Card in Your Future?

You’ve heard of social media, and you probably even participate in it. Well, how about a social credit card to go along with it?

Some might say that all credit cards are social credit cards, and I suppose there’s some validity to that argument. After all, it’s one way for you to interact with other people regularly. Salesclerks, anyhow. Of course, it’s easy to defeat even that concept by buying things online.

But in the spirit of trying just about anything to drive up credit card usage, some credit card issuers have joined forces with social media firms like Facebook and Zynga to offer cards that earn you bonuses and rewards for spending more time online.

As if Mafia War and all those other cheesy games weren’t enough, now we have to deal with social media reward cards?

How It Works

At the moment, most American credit card experiments with social media have been limited to the minor rewards listed above, which come after linking your social media account to your credit card. That’s scary enough, but as of late 2012, several Chinese social sites have issued their own unique credit cards.

Super-popular sites Sina Weibo and Renren have tied their cards into the Chinese government’s DaRen online user verification system. So far, that Asian “Big Brother” system has about 300 million users–less than a third of the population of China, but roughly equivalent to that of the United States.

Maybe Good, Maybe Bad

Social credit cards can also be set up so that once you hit enough Followers or Friends (or whatever a particular site calls them), you’ll start receiving special “hyper-targeted” offers by email or smartphone, based on your Tweets and entries about the merchants you frequent.

Whether this is a good thing or not is up to you to decide. For some of us, it’ll just mean more spam. But for you wannabe Tila Tequilas, it may be just simply irresistible, especially if the network decides to spread the largess to your horde of social connections.

The Ramifications

Have you ever gone into a favorite restaurant, one you frequent often, and had the server automatically bring you your favorite drink without you having to ask them? Nice, isn’t it? Imagine them giving you a free dessert at the end of your meal…because they know you’re likely to Tweet about the experience.

How do they know? The card itself will tell them, either through its logo or when they run it through a reader.

The upshot with these credit cards is that they do give you a small measure of such power, since they encourage you to be more active on your social page(s) in order to acquire more benefits. So there may be free cheesecake in your future, too. That’s enough reason to get a social credit card right there!