There are a lot of credit card initiative programs going on right now, given the economic state of affairs and the increased standards for lending out money and credit. So when I learned of Citi Cards teaming up with MySpace, I wasn’t at all surprised. Gotta get ’em while they’re early, right?
The new offering coming from Citi is called Citi Forward, which is a credit card that’s supposed to be more tailored to the financial needs of current consumers. Citi Forward aims to encourage the maintenance of good “healthy” credit, by incentivizing consumers by things like lowering their purchase interest rates by a quarter percent when cardmembers use credit wisely. Other rewards include ThankYou Points each billing period for paying on time and staying under the credit line.
Directing these incentives to college age students and young adults that may be using MySpace is especially important as this is the demographic that needs such rewards the most, for encouraging good credit behavior. As college students are typically learning about credit on their own during this time in their lives, while also racking up huge amounts of debt through student loans, a clear-cut program that explains how credit works and also rewards them for good decisions is just good sense.
As far as Citi teaming up with MySpace, I think this is a good start. Citi Forward has a MySpace profile page that’s flush with information about the credit card program and has shareable media that can be posted on other users’ MySpace profiles.
Having this kind of presence on MySpace would also make me think that there’s a great opportunity for further integration between the credit card company and the social network, so it’s interesting to see that Citi does offer ThankYou rewards points that can be redeemed directly on MySpace. These points can be used for music, the Impact Maker Fundraising package, VIP concert packages, private concerts for the cardmember and their friends, or movie premier screenings.
Hopefully Citi will find other areas of social media for such direct integration, whether through other networks such as Facebook, or financial service sites such as Geezeo. Whether such partnerships will eventually lead to more options that tie credit cards with social sites which are fast becoming hubs for much of our online behavior remains to be seen. Given the privacy issues that arise with a given social site, there may be some time yet before we see higher levels of integration.