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Crowdsourced credit card debuts

By Marcie Geffner ·
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

Consumers who love, love, love social media might be intrigued by a new credit card that aims to involve an online community in how the card is designed, priced and promoted.

The card is the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, unveiled Monday from Barclaycard U.S., the Wilmington, Del.-based domestic payments business of Barclays.

"In essence, it's the first crowdsourced credit card, as it pulls back the curtain that has traditionally separated banks from their customers to give the community a say over decisions related to economic trade-offs, product constructs and even profit-sharing," the company statement said.

Barclaycard created a website and social forum that allows cardholders to weigh in on how the card is managed and serviced, and together brainstormĀ  ideas for future card features. Additionally, the company offers its "Giveback" program that allows its cardholder community to share in the earnings produced by its collective decisions. The company didn't specify how cardholders would get a piece of the profit pie.

The card will offer an 8 percent interest rate on all balances, no balance transfer fee and no annual fee, according to the company.

The card is currently in a "private alpha testing" phase, to use the company's verbiage, and is expected to be launched to the public later this spring. A website has been set up to encourage people to "request an invitation" to join the community.

The new card highlights recent efforts by issuers to dive into social media to connect with consumers. Credit card companies have turned to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, "CityVille" and "FarmVille" to offer special promotions to cardholders, provide customer service or involve customers in the issuer's charitable giving.

Barclaycard Ring is taking the trend one step further by getting consumers involved in the credit card product design. Screen shots from the its website offer a window into the activities. A Q&A forum offers such topics as basics, first-timers, badges, money management, discounts and card balance and questions like: "How do you feel about rewarding active community members for their extra efforts?" Other functions include "answer a question," "submit an idea" and "take a quick poll."

Now that sounds like a card some people might really "like."

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