Facebook announces launch of reusable gift card

Facebook announces launch of reusable gift card

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The holiday shopping season is over but Facebook is unveiling the gift that keeps giving - a preloaded gift card.

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On its website, Facebook shows how it works. First, select a gift for your friend from the "gift cards and digital" category. Next, choose a value and complete your purchase. Your friend is notified instantly about your gift.

The recipient is sent a physical Facebook card to use at four partnering retailers: Target, Sephora, Jamba Juice and Olive Garden. The card can handle multiple balances and card holders can view those balances on their phone.

Some don't like the idea.

"I don't want them tracking that information about me so to me it's not something that I would use,"one person said.

"If I'm going to buy a gift for someone, I'm going to buy a gift for them," Facebook user Julia Helton says. "I'm going to put some thought into it and tailor it for them so gift cards? No, I don't think so."

But the social media giant is hoping its 1 billion plus users think more like 25-year-old Matt Roth.

"I probably would use it," Roth says. "I use Facebook pretty regularly. It's probably the first website I log on to when I'm on my phone or my MacBook."

Roth works at Target's corporate offices--one of the participating retailers--but hasn't yet heard anything about the new gift cards.

"It sounds like a good option and it's news to me...I'll probably see it tonight," Roth says.

A local alternative is Gift Bar, a Chicago-based company where consumers can purchase gift cards online to the best local boutiques and specialty shops.

On a Wednesday conference call, Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg says he's focused on enhancing the consumer's experience.

"Aside from ads, I do want to temper near term expectations a little bit on revenue lines coming from other areas like Gifts or Graph Search," Zuckerberg said. "I think these can be great opportunities for us long term but for the foreseeable future the most important thing for us is to continue building."

A Facebook spokesperson says its gift card option will gradually become available to use nationwide. Facebook users can gift up to $100 at participating retailers. The gift card announcement came just one day after the company released its latest earnings report--40% higher than this time last year.

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