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Virtual gift cards could be on wish lists next year

March 9, 2012

As consumers get used to the idea of making credit and debit card payments with their phones, the idea of virtual gift cards may not sound as strange.

As consumers get used to the idea of making credit and debit card payments with their phones, the idea of virtual gift cards may not sound as strange.

The growth of virtual gift cards is expected to take off in the next few years. A study by TowerGroup predicts that in 2013, sales could reach $8 billion and by 2014, they could surge to $11 billion. The transition could be quick because many consumers are already on board.

A survey of consumers’ preferences revealed that when given the choice between a physical gift card and a virtual gift card, almost 61 percent said they would prefer the virtual option.

“Virtual gift cards is a burgeoning market within loyalty programs and beyond. And, the virtual boom is predicted to continue,” said Mike McDonnell, vice president of product management and client solutions at ALG.

Innovative technologies, such as virtual gift cards could pair well with digital wallet solutions, which store credit and credit card information as well as loyalty program information and, potentially, virtual gift cards. Consumers reported that they would prefer to have the cards sent through email rather than text message, so they can easily use them at merchants’ websites just like they use online credit card payment processing.

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