January 16, 2008

Prepaid News from around the world

News and predictions from Global Prepay Intelligence.Mainly focused on European, the US market is also covered. We think the first interactive DVD gift cards just went on sale in Sainsbury stores in U.K. And yes, the phrase "patent holder" was included...Also personalized gift cards from VISA at GiftCardLab.com now...

Prepay Predictions for 2008
Visa jumps on the personalisation train

Visa has taken up retailer strategies to increase their gift card sales. Visa has launched a website, GiftCardLab.com, where users can personalise gift cards with photos and engraved messages. Consumers can choose from stock images or upload their own photos.

The cards cost $5.95 each and can be loaded with any amount from $10 to $250. Once purchased using a credit card, the personalised gift card can be mailed to the buyer or directly to the recipient.
It seems that the lacklustre economic climate in Europe and the US could actually be a boon to the prepaid industry.

The downturn in the economy has already helped the industry, with more people moving from routinely paying with credit cards and towards using prepaid cards, according to David Pack, Business Development Manager at Altair Financial Services. In addition to letting consumers easily manage their money, prepaid cards help consumers to avoid spending money they may not have yet through credit cards. The weak economy may inspire more purchasing through prepaid cards, particularly in corporate environments, offering savings in efficiency and fraud reduction, according to Lisa Walker of First Data International, an independent transaction processor.

Now that they have dealt with accommodating their POS to chip and PIN, IT professionals will be able to concentrate on other advancements, such as DVD gift cards and mobile payments in 2008. “Green” gift card solutions will also feature in 2008, as will the use of new carriers such as mobile/ cellphones.

Despite challenges, industry experts predict growth next year not just in the gifting market but also in other areas of prepay. So let’s enter 2008 with a tone of cautious optimism. Consumers like the way that prepay products solve their problems, from budgeting and payment-tracking to gift-buying and holiday-funding. For those that get it right, 2008 will be a year of a few star performers building on a solid, growing base.

InComm Europe takes interactive Manchester United gift card into Sainsbury’s

The UK’s first ever interactive DVD gift cards went on sale in November 2007, when market leader InComm Europe introduced the Manchester United range to its gift card shops in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

From a provider’s point of view, the interactive gift cards can be used to track purchases and consumer activity, creating the opportunity to personalise subsequent marketing and promotional information based on consumer preference. Peter Ellul, CEO of Serious, the international patent holders and publishers of interactive cards, explained that ‘digital gift cards can ultimately improve consumer experience and therefore increase loyalty and sales.’

UK Health Check

Gift card usage continues to increase in the UK. Giftex Prepay conducted a study in October 2007, sponsored by the VA, the UK trade body representing gift vouchers, cards and stored value solutions. It set out to assess the UK
consumer’s experience and attitudes toward gift cards. The survey reported that the average number of gift cards purchased per person surveyed was 0.79. But those who had bought gift cards bought an average of 2.74 each. Those who experience gift cards are likely to lead to buy more of them. This is good news for the voucher and card industry.

For more details on the findings of this Research Report or to find out how to obtain your 2 free issues of Global Prepay Intelligence, the world’s only independent journal on gift and prepay, click through to
http://www.giftexprepay.com/offer.php or email [email protected]

For complete newsletter you need to visit http://www.giftexprepay.com

Posted by staff at January 16, 2008 07:33 AM