Twitter is apparently not satisfied with just trying to sell people things through the internet. The company has announced that it is beginning a US based test to deploy Tweet based discount codes that would be shared directly with users. This relies on the willingness of individuals to share their credit card information, but appears to be an interesting step towards Twitter expanding its services.
The system is relatively simple, companies will put a limited time offer up for users to claim as a Tweet. This is done by registering a credit or debit card with the company, and then making the purchase using the same card. Users will then see the savings appear on their statements after several days, because it apparently takes time for the banks to process the discounts.
While the process is simple, it does raise some concerns. First of all is the need to register a credit card for each and every offer. Twitter claims that the information is encrypted and cannot be accessed by anyone but the parties involved in the discount; but not everyone will be comfortable with putting this sort of information out there. Then there is the issue of having to use the credit card to make the purchase, which is great for people who have credit cards; but that is certainly not everyone. Especially considering the number of people on Twitter who are too young to even own a credit card.
There could be better ways of deploying the coupon system, especially one that involves other means of verifying the person’s identity. Like perhaps sending an SMS to the owner, or a direct message with a promo code. Fortunately, this is being trialed in the US first and there is still time to refine the system.