Virtual credit cards arrive in Second Life

MetaCard

Yesterday I signed up for a credit card that I could use in Second Life. Today the approval came, so watch out virtual shops!

The credit card comes from First Meta, a financial services firm based in Singapore, that has just launched the MetaCard.

Three types of card, in fact, as the image above indicates. I signed up for the Basic (blue) card which gives me an initial credit limit of 5,000 Linden dollars (L$), the virtual currency used in Second Life (perspective: that’s roughly the equivalent of $18.50 in real money).

Applying for this card involves not much more than filling out an application form with your SL avatar name, your real name and an email address. You can apply on First Meta’s website or at First Meta’s island in Second Life.

You can also apply for a Gold MetaCard. The primary difference between Gold and Basic is that the Gold card is linked to your real-world credit card and provides a higher credit limit and other benefits (see the comparisons). The image above shows a third card, a Corporate MetaCard, although I can’t see any info about this one on the First Meta website.

I didn’t apply for the Gold card mainly because I don’t yet know enough about First Meta to trust them with my financial data.

Once you’ve filled out the application form, it goes off to First Meta and after a while, you’ll get an approval notice by email and by in-world notecard. Then, you’re ready to shop.

(I heard about the MetaCard via Second Life Insider yesterday; TechCrunch has a write-up today about the cards.)

Where can you use your MetaCard? At the moment, places are few and far between other than at the Meta Mall at the First Meta island. But First Meta has ambitious plans for Second Life and other virtual communities, so expect to see more places accepting the card.

You can also use First Meta’s ATMs to draw out cash (ie, credit your L$ cash balance) as well as check your balance and make payments on your account.

This is a significant development for Second Life where we now have credit cards including one that’s linked to financial information in the real world.

I’ll be experimenting with mine to see how a virtual credit card works over time – an opportunity for learning how consumer purchasing via credit will work in virtual worlds.

Full details about the MetaCard, including an FAQ, on First Meta’s website.

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