Facebook Gifts, launched in September, allows people to buy and send each other smallish items through the social network from well-known brands and retailers. On Thursday the company introduced a reusable gift card that people can give to friends through the Gifts program for use at four partner companies: Target, Jamba Juice, Olive Garden and Sephora.
After receiving a Facebook Card in the mail, subsequent card gifts will be automatically added to the balance for one or more of the participating stores.
“Your card can hold multiple gift balances, and each balance is dedicated to the retailer associated with the gift. For example, you might have gift balances of $100 at Sephora, $75 at Target, $50 at Olive Garden, and $8.25 at Jamba Juice,” stated Facebook’s announcement today.
People can see gift balances in their account settings on Facebook in mobile or on the desktop. A user will also get a notification when their balance changes through a real-time notification sent to their phone. The ability to send a Facebook Card will roll out gradually in the U.S.
The social network first got into the gift card business in 2010, when it sold virtual credits through cards sold at big box stores like Target and Best Buy. Last year, the company did away with its own virtual currency in favor of a user’s local currency, whether dollars, pesos or yen. The aim was to give developers more flexibility and to benefit its own e-commerce efforts like Gifts.
During the company’s fourth-quarter conference call Wednesday, CFO David Ebersman said Gifts, user-promoted posts, and paid messages amounted to only about $5 million in the quarter out of total payments revenue of $256 million. He added that non-games payments would remain very small through 2013, as the company focuses mainly on building out its advertising business.