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American Express launches Facebook portal

by Peter Andrew
American Express launches Facebook portal

Last month, your blogger expressed some mild skepticism (Make Facebook friends with your credit card companies) about how comfortably the marketing of credit cards and social media websites might coexist. It seems unlikely that Ed Milligan, the vice chairman of American Express, is a dedicated IndexCreditCards.com reader, but his remarks on the launch of his company’s latest online initiative could have been a rebuttal:

As we continue to transform our business in the digital space, we’re focused on three key areas: value, relevance and user experience, for both cardmembers and merchants. Because of our unique business model – our closed loop – we’re able to deliver on all three in a way that is unprecedented. We’re thrilled to bring together the power of the Facebook platform and our core business assets in a way that is personalized, meaningful, and will result in significant value for both merchants and cardmembers.

Credit card rewards enhanced online

As of last week, American Express cardmembers can visit the company’s Facebook page, and join its new “Link, Like, Love” program. You link your card. The application works out what you like by analyzing your and your Facebook friends’ stated likes and interests, and then delivering to you personalized content, offers and experiences via an online dashboard. You can choose the credit card rewards deals and other goodies that you love. Link, like, love. Geddit?

Hmmm. It might just work. If you try it out, please do share your experiences with the rest of us by commenting below.

Credit card offers that benefit merchants too

Actually, the really clever bit about this is how rewards are delivered when you’re shopping either in a store or online. Because American Express owns its own payment processing systems (as opposed to using MasterCard’s or Visa’s), it can send statement credits directly to cardmembers’ accounts, so you don’t have to print out coupons, take extra steps at the point of sale, or worry about pre-purchasing anything. That ability to use the payment system itself to streamline credit card deals is what Milligan meant when he talked about “our unique business model – our closed loop.”

This sort of streamlining helps merchants, whose staff can get bogged down in the processing of coupons and vouchers. But American Express took another step at the same time it unveiled “Link, Like, Love.” It introduced a new online tool for merchants that allows them to create their own coupon-less promotional offers for use on Facebook and elsewhere.

This is the second merchant-oriented program that American Express and Facebook have launched within the last month. The earlier one allowed the former’s credit card rewards points to be used by small businesses (or anyone else) to pay for Facebook advertising. However, CBS News reported on June 29 that a cardmember has to spend $6,750 on his or her card to earn enough points for $50 of such advertising, so the uptake may be limited.

Credit cards and social media

So is your blogger any more persuaded that social media websites are good places for credit card companies to market their products and deals? Well, maybe. The American Express initiative does seem to provide some worthwhile benefits for participants.

And that is critical. But there are other factors. Many people hate to feel either manipulated, or “spammed” with credit card offers or promotions that aren’t relevant to them. And intruding into what they currently regard as their personal (if virtual) space via FaceBook could be unpopular. We’ll have to wait to see whether other card issuers are as restrained as American Express.

Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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