Social media isn’t just good for catching up with old friends, it has also quickly become a great marketing tool for businesses, especially when targeting younger audiences. College students spend a significant amount of time on the internet, and even more so on social sites. So when the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) act came into affect, credit card companies started revving up their social media engines. The CARD act prohibits credit card companies from pitching on college campuses. That means no more credit card tables where you get a free (you name it) for signing up. Not only that, but anyone under the age of 21 must show a sufficient income or have a co-signer.
Some of the top names in credit cards have used social media to gain young customers. American Express launched “Link, Like, Love” a service that offers discounts based on “likes” and connections. Giveaways on social sites are also a popular tool. Chase held a $1 million “like” sweepstakes on Facebook.
Another advantage for credit card companies using social media sites is attracting customers through games. The popular, and very addicting Facebook game, FarmVille had people playing for hours on end. And the worst part about that game was when you ran out of coins and had to wait for more. Discover took advantage of the addicting nature of FarmVille and offered non-customers who applied for a Discover card through the game a $100 game card for virtual currency.
Ed Mierzwinski, from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, says, “The credit card act took the first steps toward protecting young people from unfair marketing by credit card companies that often led them into excessive, over-priced credit card debt.” Even though this may be true, the credit card companies found the loophole, which is undoubtedly social media, and they could very well be reaching more college students there instead of a table on campus.
This infographic by Card Hub highlights how credit card companies have gone social as well as their tactics and even the top credit card complaints.