Given how Google’s profit increases have ground to a halt in recent months, Facebook has begun to aggressively expand its Credits payment system. This includes a new process that will allow consumers to use its online currency in lieu of taking on credit card debt.
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Facebook will now start selling gift cards for its Credits system in brick-and-mortar Target stores, and will make them available in amounts of $15, $25 and $50. And while consumers will be able to continue to use this currency as they have in the past – to buy advertisements on the site, or make payments for games like Farmville – their options will also be expanded.
The report said that one option Facebook is currently exploring and may implement in the near future would allow users to make payments at selected third-party ecommerce with their Credits rather than taking on credit card debt to do it. This process could not only help consumers scale back the amount of credit card debt they take on, but also give them added convenience. Sites may allow consumers to simply click a “Pay With Facebook” button, rather than fill out all their information.
In addition, the report said that consumers may be able to store their payment information with Facebook when they take on credit card debt to buy Credits online. If so, that could also be used in conjunction with the new Pay With Facebook function, in a way similar to how PayPal works.
The social networking giant is expected to make between $1 billion and $1.5 billion on brand advertising revenues alone this year, the Chronicle said. But this new revenue stream, which will roll into Target stores nationwide starting September 5, could make it a few hundred million dollars more. A former executive at the company told the paper that this business alone could end up being a third of its revenues by the end of the year.
Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, and many of those are people in their teens or 20s. This market is one that the company has successfully targeted in the past, and one which would be very attractive to third-party business partners looking to increase their exposure.