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Gift cards go mobile, still popular for holidays

December 20, 2012

Early birds and last-minute holiday shoppers know the hidden value of gift cards when it comes to convenience, flexibility and recipient happiness.

Early birds and last-minute holiday shoppers know the hidden value of gift cards when it comes to convenience, flexibility and recipient happiness. The former know that sales occur during the holiday season offering discounts on cards, for instance a $100 for $80, so it is difficult for consumers to pass up what is essentially free merchandise. Shoppers who are late in the game can buy cards accepted at hundreds of stores and restaurants, all from the grocery store or pharmacy down the street. Gift cards are profitable merchant services that simplify holiday shopping for many Americans.

This season will find gift cards flashing forward to the future, with the introduction of app-based mobile gift cards that offer the same benefits as plastic. App-based transactions help customers reduce the bulk in wallets and purchases from multiple gift cards which may be received during holidays. Paying with a smartphone might offer better assurance that funds can be spent, because card loss is prevented by apps’ access to digital data, which can help with merchant fraud prevention strategies. With the increase of mobile credit card transactions, it is likely that gift cards will be given via apps more commonly during holiday seasons to come.

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