Singapore based FirstMeta has launched MetaCard, a credit card for Second Life that is claimed to be the world’s first virtual world credit card.
The MetaCard works in the same way as a normal first life credit card works. Applicants are provided with a credit limit and present the card when purchasing goods at merchants who accept the card.
MetaCard comes in two flavors: Basic and Gold. The Basic card is subject to a avatar check and provides a credit limit of L$5000 ($18.60) per month. A Gold MetaCard offers a credit limit of L$10,000 ($37.20) per month and can only be obtained by providing real world credentials and a real life credit card for automatic payments. Interest is charged at between 0.13% and 0.15% per day, which would we roughly 54% per annum, but compounding. Payments are 2% of the total amount used plus fees outstanding at the end of the month, and users have 21 days to make their monthly payment. MetaCard holders must also spend L$500 ($1.86) per month or face a monthly maintenance fee of L$300 ($1.12).
FirstMeta also offers MetaCard holders a savings account under the MetaSavings brand, offering interest rates of between 0.06%-0.09% daily.
Although the amount of credit offered by FirstMeta is (in real life terms) rather low, it will be interesting to see how services like these develop in online worlds given that in effect they are financial services that would likely be subject to real life laws. Whilst Second Life companies such as the World Stock Exchange clearly state that they are in effect pretend outfits (ie: games), and therefore are not subject to real world laws, FirstMeta is actually providing credit that is tied to a real world account; in effect by securing their credit services they have crossed the line into the real world.
(in part via SL Insider)