Rixty pre-paid cards and Coinstar vouchers can now be exchanged for Facebook Credits at a rate of 8.403 credits to the US dollar. The company, who helps consumers make online purchases without a credit card, has a new feature on it’s website allowing users to transfer value from their Rixty account into Credits on their Facebook account via the Facebook platform. By allowing cash to be exchanged for Credits, teens won’t need a parent’s credit card or consent in order to buy virtual goods via Facebook’s currency. The partnership between Rixty and Facebook could lend traction to the Credits system and make more young players eligible to become paying customers.
Rixty began by selling its pre-paid cards in convenience stores around the US. These cards could be redeemed as payment for virtual goods and services on affiliated online games. It then teamed up with CoinStar last year to allow users of any of their 10,000 self-serve coin counting and cash-in kiosks to exchange their money for a printed receipt (eCert) with a redeemable RixtyCode. It’s since been focusing on ways to open up the piggy banks of the youth to the social game economy, releasing a payment service for kids under 13 in February.
To test out the integration, I used Rixty’s locator to find a local CoinStar kiosk, and went and deposited $8.35 in loose change. Instead of choosing to receive cash at $0.902 per dollar deposited, I chose Rixty as my pay-out method and received an eCert with a RixtyCode and instructions for redemption. When entered on the site, I was able to convert my code into 70 Facebook credits at the 8.403 Credits/$ rate, with $0.02 remaining in my Rixty account. I was then navigated to the Facebook Games dashboard where my Credits were waiting for me. Currently, RixtyCodes do not appear as a payment option for Credits on Facebook itself, and can only be redeemed on the Rixty site. The exchange rates for the ways to buy Facebook Credits now stand at 10 Credits/$ via credit cards and PayPay, 8.403 Credits/$ via Rixty, and 5.6 Credits/$ via Zong mobile phone payments.
While the new Rixty for Facebook Credits interface is smooth, it’s not the first time gamers have been able to use spare change to pay for their virtual goods on Facebook. Zynga and Playdom are among the publishers whose Facebook games already accept Rixty payments via their partnership with Offerpal Media. However, the process of bouncing from game to Offerpal to Rixty then back to the game is clunky, and the Rixty payment option is typically buried below a dozen other options.
Since bringing in new paying customers is essential to the Facebook Credits value proposition to game developers, it will be important for Facebook to raise awareness of Rixty. Facebook has promised to integrate hundreds of payment methods for Credits and youth lacking credit cards may be just the additional market segment it needs to help it grow the currency in spite of ongoing criticism from developers.