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All Payments Expo 2016: Two Weeks Away!

all payments expo 2016

In just two weeks, the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, LA will be filled with hundreds of companies who will gather to discuss the latest trends in the payments industry at the All Payments Expo 2016. GiftCard Partners will be there taking part in the discussion, and we are hoping you will be there too!

Over 80 speakers will be featured at this year’s APEX, including:

Erin Wood, Director Card Programmer, from Subway

Dan Springer, President, from Great Lakes Scrip Center

Matt Davies, CEO, from Powerhouse Brands

Sarah Quinlan, SVP, from MasterCard

…and many, many more!

Hot topics at the All Payments Expo 2016

Prepaid Expo:

  • Propelling growth in new markets
  • Industry consolidation
  • Regulations
  • Opportunities for crossover between prepaid & data analytics

Gifting Expo:

  • Enhancing the gift card experience
  • Digital products
  • E-gifting
  • Rewards & recognition
  • Enhancing B2B gift card sales
  • Fraud

Merchant Expo:

  • Technologies & Innovations
  • Consumer interactions on-line and off-line
  • Geofencing
  • In-store conversions
  • Mobile

Other great APEX resources

All Payments Expo alumni

Check out the APEX alumni section to see the variety of retailers, companies, restaurants, and more that have attended prior APEX events!

all payment expo appDownload the app

The myApex app is now live. This is the official conference application for the All Payments Expo 2016. This app can help you make the most out of your Apex experience by helping you manage your schedule, find exhibitors, and review the list of attendees.

Download the app here.

60-second speaker interviews

We can’t get enough of the APEX event! Visit allpaymentslive.com to listen to 60-second interviews with some of the event’s key speakers to find out a little more about them before they hit the stage on March 21-23! Once the event begins you can also view the live broadcast.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Gift Card Trends 2015: Year in Review

gift card trends2015 was a huge year for gift cards. For the first time, gift card sales reached $130 billion, while e-gifting rose 26% and represented $7.1 billion in volume. Here are some of the other gift card trends the industry experienced in 2015 from The Gift Card Network.

  • Digital Outsourcing – Most retailers now offer a digital gift card and those retailers are outsourcing their digital gift card delivery to a third party processor. Why? Many third parties offer a higher level of fraud protection and abundant IT resources to deliver a unique experience for each retailer.
  • Acquisitions – Everywhere you look, card manufacturers are buying other card manufacturers, processors are acquiring digital platforms and apps, and fulfillment companies are consolidating. This is making it easier for gift card program managers to meet all their needs in one place, as opposed to having multiple vendors.
  • The Rise of Aggregators – Consumers want gift cards, whether it’s for themselves to use or to give them as gifts. We no longer need to convince consumers or retailers of their value. With that, new distributors are entering the gift card space and introducing new avenues for brands to extend their reach. We are expecting many more new opportunities and concepts to be introduced in 2016.
  • Online Gift Cards – eGift cards used to be an afterthought for many retailers, but with the rise of both online and mobile sales, retailers are rethinking their website experiences. Brands that are not featuring their cards online will continue to lose out on sales.
  • Sustainable Gift Cards – PVC used to be the prime material used in card production, but now more brands are choosing an environmentally friendly option such as paper or wood. These cards work just as well as PVC with no reported customer service issues, and the card costs have come more in line with PVC. Check out this article on the Paper and Wood Myths Campaign.

Read 4 more gift card trends at All Payments Live!


The B2B gift card space is constantly evolving – What is your brand bringing to the table? Download our whitepaper The Evolving B2B Gift Card Channel and learn the best opportunities to grow your business.
Download Now

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

The Rise of Mobile Gift Cards

Mobile Gift Cards

A recent CashStar study discussing the popularity of gift cards showed a surprising number of consumers are looking for a smartphone solution to keep track of the gift cards they receive. The study looked at a diverse group of gift card givers and receivers from different demographic groups and regions across the country. What they found was that most prefer to give or receive mobile gift cards for a variety of reasons, including convenience, balance tracking, and the personalization it gives the ‘gifter’. So as gift cards remain a top gift choice for 9 years running, it’s important for merchants to note the desire consumers have for managing and storing them digitally.

Find the right reward

Gifters and Receivers

61% of online shoppers plan to purchase gift cards, of that group, 56% would like to receive gift card balances that they can store on their smartphones.

“This data reinforces the importance of delivering rich, engaging and useful experiences for both the senders and the recipients of gift cards,” said CashStar President and CEO Ben Kaplan. “Even at the last minute, digital gifting allows givers to create highly personalized gifts with photos, messages and video. People who receive gift cards – both plastic and digital – now have more options than ever for storing their card value on their smartphones in mobile wallets, and in 2016 we expect more retailers to adopt this functionality.”

Remove the Risk of Lost Value

One major draw that mobile gift cards have is that they are harder to lose or leave at home. 40% of respondents admit to losing plastic gift cards, and thus a gift. From a gifters standpoint, this also puts insurance on the value of their gift.

Demographic Breakdown

Here’s a quick breakdown of where and how mobile gift cards are gaining momentum:

  • Most interested in mobile : Residents in Western states come in on top, with 59% of respondents expressing interest in mobile gift cards.
  • Most likely to lose plastic: Northeasterners, with 49% of respondents indicating that they have lost plastic gift cards.
  • Most mobile ready: Unsurprisingly millennials 18-24 year olds came in on top, with 74% indicating an interest in storing gift card value on their smartphones.
  • Least interested in mobile: Only 33% of respondents 66 years and older are interested in mobile gift cards.

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Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Consumer Payment Choice, Mobile on the Rise

Consumer payment choice

Recently PYMNTS.com put out its 2015 U.S Consumer Payment Choice Study which takes a look at the state of mobile purchases in the U.S. What Sarah Hartman, a Senior Director of Payment Solutions at TSYS, and Karen Webster, PYMNTS.com CEO MPD, found is very important to the rewards and loyalty industry.

The mobile space is changing and becoming increasingly popular among consumers.

E-commerce is up and so is the attentiveness to interest rates in the mobile sphere. In addition, a great and important change that has happened this year is the awareness of chip cards. Only 13% of people are unsure if they have received a chip card compared to last year where 52% of people did not even know what one was. And 50% of people have been issued a card, a number that will rise to 98% by 2017.

Learn More About Mobile Gift Cards

Consumers become more confident with credit

People are constantly checking balances and are interested to see their money grow. This has resulted in the interest in credit staying about the same but the interest for debit to drop slightly. The growing economy has also played a factor in this as people are more confident and more willing to use credit rather than debit. It allows for more freedom and rewards but is also riskier for the consumer. Hartman tells Webster that she has seen “a very consistent story” from consumers that rewards and loyalty are the best influencers to encourage payment behavior. This year as well as last, over 50% of consumers reported that they find rewards and loyalty to be “the most attractive driver.”

Banking apps are also expanding

There has been an increased number of people making online and mobile payments. People are now looking for banking and bill pay to be available on their mobile devices. As time goes on mobile banking and payments apps will have increased options and will allow people to live more autonomously from their mobile device.

This study really shines a strong light on where mobile payments are heading. There will be increased rewards and loyalty, banking and payments on mobile devices. A new door is opening and there is a “lot of opportunity for financial institutions.”

Read more on the PMNTS.com study, 2015 U.S Consumer Payment Choice Study, here.

Dangers to Avoid When Gifting Gift Cards

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!

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Gift Cards Go Virtual

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.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Google Wallet Dumps Gift Cards…Does It Matter?

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.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

How Fast Will Mobile Payments Really Grow?

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.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Payment Systems and Gift Cards Going Mobile

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 PYMNTS.com.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Payment Wars and Loyalty Programs

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

Established in 2004, GiftCard Partners is an award-winning leader and outsourced solution provider for merchant B2B gift card programs through key distribution channels.