Posts Tagged ‘mobile gift cards’

Dangers to Avoid When Gifting Gift Cards

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It’s no secret that gift cards are the most popular item on almost everyone’s wish list this year. Innovations in the gift card industry have made gift cards more secure and easier than ever to use. The average gifted gift card is around $50 and the most popular categories are restaurants, department stores, and coffee shops. Though your gift card will be a well-received gift, there are a few things you should know about this year’s gift cards before you make that final purchase:

  1. Fees. In 2009 the CARD Act was introduced and limited any inactivity fees and expiration dates on cards, however, general purpose gift cards can charge a purchase fee of up to $6.95. These are typically your Visa and MasterCard products (also referred to as open loop cards).
  2. Use them or lose them. Most cards do not expire. But some will after 5 years. If a gift card gets tucked away in a wallet or drawer they may easily get forgotten. There is also the risk of the retailer going out of business.
  3. Security Perks. Many retailers will replace gift cards if they are lost or stolen. But to take advantage of this perk, one must register their gift card in advance.
  4. Know your giftee. Gift card givers can save money by purchasing store-specific cards, but it’s good to know the shopping habits of the person who is receiving the gift.
  5. Always read the fine print. Check out the fine print to avoid any unwanted surprises, The back of the gift card usually list the brands terms and conditions.
  6. Check out mobile gift cards. Mobile gift cards make gifting easy. Mobile gift cards can be used as payment directly from a smart phone and 59% of gift cards are now available electronically. Mobile gift cards and electronic gift cards are perfect for millennials who are twice as likely to lose their gift cards. Another exciting feature of electronic gift cards is the ability to customize. You can upload a photo or video along with a custom message to make the gift card more personal, a great way to shake the impersonal feeling some people still get when gifting gift cards.

Learn more here about the dangers to consider when gifting your gift cards.

Looking for ways to save money on gift cards this holiday season? With little planning, your old gift cards could save you money on this year’s gifts. Click here for the 5 ways you can save!

Gift Cards Go Virtual

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

We’ve spent some time over the last few weeks talking about gift card purchasing and gifting as the holiday shopping season heats up. However, it’s important to keep a secondary focus on trends going forward. Based on First Data’s latest Consumer Insights Survey, the future of gift cards is virtual. Here are a few key stats from the survey.

  • 33% of consumers (that’s 3 in 10) are purchasing more e-gift or virtual gift cards.
  • Online gift card purchases are up 8% from 2013.
  • 13% of survey respondents have used an app or social media site like Facebook to give virtual gift cards.

This survey indicates, as many consumer motivators do, that gift cards’ virtual and mobile potential takes the convenience factor of a gift card to the next level. The growth in virtual gift cards and virtual gifting could also be an early indication that consumers are adopting virtual and mobile payment technologies more frequently in their regular shopping routines. Gift cards can be an entry into using credit and debit cards, as gift cards present no risk to personal finance. It allows consumers to test the security of mobile and virtual payments without connecting any personal information. Once consumers become comfortable they can incorporate their own payment methods into the online and mobile systems. As the holiday season progresses we will see if this continues to trend.

Stay tuned, and let us know in the comments if you’re shifting gift cards or payments to your mobile phone or wallet.

Google Wallet Dumps Gift Cards…Does It Matter?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Google announced earlier this month that as of August 21st it would suspend support on Google Wallet for gift cards and loyalty cards (often utlizing point systems). This seems like it could be a blow to the gift card industry, like for those who sell bulk gift cards, as it limits the ways gift cards can be distributed and redeemed. However I am scratching my head to figure out if we, the gift card industry should even care that much.

Google wallet has struggled to find adoption in the market, even as mobile payments rise and retailers continue to develop more sophisticated apps to support shopping, couponing and loyalty programs. The two biggest mobile carriers in the U.S. AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless don’t carry devices that are Google wallet enabled, we need to put this move in perspective.

Google has made many changes to its Wallet since it originally launched in May 2011 and has largely failed at making a real dent in the growing mobile payments and NFC markets. Google Wallet previously pulled the plug on supporting prepaid debit cards yet they still remain prevalent in the payments market. Since loyalty program adoption and circulation of gift cards remains strong, the market indicates it is not yet time to panic. This easily could mean Google is trying to make further adjustments to make Wallet what consumers are looking for. Meanwhile, consumers will continue to buy gift cards, as will buyers of bulk gift cards, in both physical form and digital. Google’s move is not a vote of no confidence in the gift card, perhaps just a way to focus the wobbly path of their wallet and consumer NFC payments.

How Fast Will Mobile Payments Really Grow?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Mobile payments are going to reach $1 billion in transactions by the end of 2013. That sounds like great growth and revenue, until you find out that in October 2012 mobile payments were expected to reach $20 billion by 2015, and are now on track to reach that milestone in 2016. A fragmented market, and many dependent and critical keys to success have stifled the mobile payments market. Hardware and infrastructure impediments, combined with competing technologies like mobile wallet solutions have slowed merchant and consumer adoption to mobile payments.

What do you use mobile payments for? Have you used your mobile POS for more than the morning cup of joe? Most consumers use mobile payment technology for small purchases only, and are slow to transition larger purchases to mobile. This is an indicator that many merchants and consumers are also hesitant to use eGift Cards, and make the necessary POS upgrades to even be able to process them. Have you ever give an eGift? These numbers tend to suggest that employers and gifters across the board would be hesitant to give an eGift given limited market adoption. The market indicators are inconsistent for mobile payments, there is growth but possibly not to the rate originally forecast. What do you think about mobile payments?

See the eMarketer Mobile Payments Forceast for 2011-2017, and check out this article from eMarketer on further impediments affecting the mobile payments market adoption.

Payment Systems and Gift Cards Going Mobile

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

As smartphones become more prevalent in the daily lives of consumers, retailers are constantly coming up with ways to reach these consumers in the space where they are spending an increasing amount of time……….on their mobile devices. While systems like Square and PayPal previously targeted small to medium sized businesses, they have moved into the top tier retail space. This will allow consumers to make payments using their mobile device, instead of having to carry around a wallet full of plastic.

Due to the increased importance and usage of smartphones, retailers are also making gift cards available through a mobile device more and more frequently. Not only is it easier for the person recieving the gift card to redeem their gift, but it also revolutionizes the way a friend, or employer delivers the gift. There is added convenience on both sides of the gift card. Imagine giving rewards to employees on a rolling basis through a spot rewards program. The employer can deliver rewards witha click of a button to any number of employees in any number of locations. Mobile gift cards are also revolutionizing the mobile retail space and transforming the way people give and receive gifts.

For more information check out this article and interview with Ken Paull, Executive Vice President of ROAM Data, from

Payment Wars and Loyalty Programs

Friday, April 20th, 2012

This  is quite possibly the most comprehensive infographic ever created around mobile payments. Our question for the prepaid industry, loyalty rewards program management companies, and gift card retailers and merchants:  Is our next loyalty program component in the area of mobile payments use?

Source: MostWanted via Prepaid Expo

Thank you MostWanted and Ptepaid Expo

The Prepaid Expo: Adapt or Die

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

It should be of no surprise that mobile payment was a choice topic at this year’s Prepaid Expo, but as purveyors of the B2B portion of retail sales; how will we get to mobile payment?

Retailers and merchants are living (or about to live) the latest technology and game changing concepts about the consumer waving their mobile device to pay. But the B2B portion of the market still has major issues to overcome. The questions that the Prepaid Expo asks ring loud in order to capture consumers and also ring true for your B2B customers and subsequent end-consumers:

What will be frictionless in your environment?
What will bring the greatest value?
What will be the best authentication?
What’s the best way to reduce cost?
How do you make prepaid product more relevant and valuable to cardholder before, during, after the
payment transaction?

Interesting quote from Bill Gates about the future: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”–Bill Gates

Mobile buying is inevitable, but are you considering B2B gift card sales in your mobile prepaid strategy? If not, when will you shape your change?

Read up on the Prepaid Expo’s Live from Prepaid Expo: The Future of Prepaid & Mobile

Mobile Banking is changing consumers' relationship with their money

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The latest analytics from comScore Inc. indicate that the number of consumers using mobile online banking has increased 45% since one year ago.  This staggering number is proving the shift to mobile technology use is growing, and most importantly, that consumers are beginning to trust mobile technology more as it continues to develop. Upon the initial introduction of mobile financial applications the majority of consumers indicated through various surveys and studies that they used mobile technology, but would not do so for banking or financial purposes.

Having a trusting consumer base has caused a massive growth in mobile banking, which could also mean big changes for gift card usage and receipt of employee rewards.  Imagine getting a spot reward, gift card from your boss for doing well on a big project, and having it download right to your phone. Or having your year end bonus go into your checking account and being able to move that money around on your way to buy your holiday gifts. Mobile banking is changing the way people handle their money. How will it change your financial attitudes? Do you trust mobile banking?

For more information on the latest comScore Inc. analysis click here.

Mobile Retail: Combining in-store and online shopping

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Increasing numbers of consumers are using their mobile devices while shopping.  In tough economic times, consumers are always looking for the best deal, and will do extra work and research to ensure that they get the best price.  Consumers are now looking for deals, coupons, rewards, and free gifts through their mobile devices.  63% of consumers asked in the 2011 Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey said that they had accessed a retailer’s website from their mobile device, and 41% said they had done so from inside a retail store.  Mobile technology is revolutionizing the way consumers shop and receive coupons and special offers, it is even changing the way employers give out rewards and incentives. Imagine getting your holiday gift in a gift card form, right to your mobile device.


33% of consumers indicated that they would be interested in receiving special offers through their mobile device, which often includes quick response deals, deals only good for a few hours after receipt of the coupon. This statistic proves how engaged consumers are, and how even when consumers are on the go, or even at work, they are a captive audience for retailers looking to deliver coupons, offers, and even free gifts.

Consumers are allowing retailers to access them on their mobile devices, which means a constant cycle of deals, coupons, and shopping.  This holiday season mobile engagement is going to play a big role in retailer success. If you use mobile retail sites or deals leave us a comment and let us know how you use them, and what advancements you would like to see in the future.


For more information on the 2011 Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey, or mobile retail strategy click here.

Mobile Payments, the Credit Card of the Future

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Within 9 weeks of Starbucks launching mobile payment apps,customers chose to pay with their phones over 3 million times, according to an eMarketer interview with Starbucks VP of Digital Ventures Adam Brotman.  The apps provide convenience and control for customers, and speeds up those dreaded lines at Starbucks on weekday mornings.  Customer use of the app increases steadily as time goes on.


But where are mobile payment systems going? The innovation has to keep evolving if it is going to maintain its popularity.  Starbucks has already added an egift card component to the app, meaning that one Starbucks customer can gift another customer with the app through the mobile system.  This is a computer free, cash free, and credit card free transaction that can happen anywhere.  Imagine being able to receive gifts anytime anywhere, whether it is birthday gifts, or a reward from an employer. Mobile payments also help retailers track in-store activity based on mobile coupons.  Brotman explains “In response to an ad campaign ran by adidas via Google’s AdMob where 10% discounts were offered Schultz said “they were able to track that in-store activity, they saw that the weekly redemption numbers were up 50 percent. You still have users who are willing to engage with commerce now. As consumers we don’t operate in silos and as marketers we should either. When we work with retailers, we try to figure out their strategies and how we can enable that – we look at consumer behavior.”


Convenience for consumers, additional metrics and tracking for retailers.  Get rid of your cash, and shred your credit cards, just make sure you have your smartphone.


For more information on mobile payments click here.