LOS ANGELES — American Express has created a card that rewards FarmVille users with virtual cash for their real-world purchases.
Users of the hit social media game can begin signing up for the FarmVille card starting Tuesday. The card is part of American Express' prepaid Serve platform.
But this card is not like your typical credit card. Signing up for the thing is a game in itself.
FarmVille users interested in the card, which can earn them up to 360 Farm Cash, first have to visit a Serve farm within the virtual game and then plant a Serve Money Tree on their farms, according to the website AllThingsD.com. Once they've done that, the process gets a little more normal as users must register for the card and wait for it to arrive.
The card rewards FarmVille users when they sign up, when they activate the card, when they add money to the account, for their first five purchases of more than $25, and when they harvest the tree — because, you know, it's FarmVille, the most popular game on the Internet, which became a hit on Facebook.
The social game rewards program is a strategic move by American Express to reach a demographic not easily accessed by the company.
"It opens up tremendous opportunities to address segments of the market that we weren't able to address with traditional credit or charge products, including the youth or underserved markets," said Dan Schulman, American Express' president of enterprise growth, according to AllThingsD.
And the FarmVille card is just the first of numerous Zynga game-themed rewards programs that will be rolling out as the program is expected to expand to other games.
"What's appealing to these brands is our 292 million monthly uniques, which is providing them with the reach of TV with the effectiveness of online and gaming," said Jeff Karp, Zynga's chief marketing officer, according to All Things D.
The program is also expected to expand over time, adding deals within the game that can be unlocked through real-world purchases.