This time last year, socializing with your credit card companies meant a few extra perks here and there and often, the opportunity to win some amazing prize simply by hitting the Facebook “like” button. Now, though, consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated.
Lenders are paying bit money to social networking professionals to closely monitor and gauge consumers habits and one way they’re honing in is by the use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. They’re looking for specific trends so that they can maximize their visibility online.
The problem, at least according to some analysts, is these efforts are treading dangerously close to some of the dynamics in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act. You may recall its purpose was to significantly reduce aggressive marketing efforts, especially when they’re targeted towards recent high school graduates and college students. And, of course, who uses social netoworking? Of course – high school teens and college students.
The consumer program group U.S. Public Interest Research Group released the results from it studies and said,
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, overpriced credit-card debt.
And therein lies the problem: credit card companies are taking greater risks in hopes their efforts will fly below the proverbial radar. Ed Mierzwinski, the research group’s consumer program director says there’s not enough information yet that would provide an accurate statement.
You might be surprised to learn that American Express appears to be the most aggressive in these social efforts. For quite some time, the exclusive credit card company has focused on bringing younger and hip young adults. Indeed, Twitter often has several of AMEX Twitter posts showing as “promoted” meaning a heavy rotation and saturation for consumers and even would-be consumers. AMEX also incorporates Facebook and Foursquare, the site known for allowing consumers to earn impressive discounts in their local area.
AMEX isn’t the only one, though. Several other heavy hitters, including Discover and Chase, are really focusing on their social networking avenues. Most all others are at least testing various Facebook and Twitter online games and other marketing ploys.
Ultimately, though, it may be that one or all of the financial institutions will find themselves having to rein in their efforts – or face tough fines for failing to comply with the law.