Gift card holders who really wish they could use their cards to buy online games, music, and other digital media will soon get their wish. A partnership between three companies has made it possible for cardholders trade unwanted gift card balances for digital cash.
Plastic Jungle, the web’s largest secured gift card exchange; InComm, an industry leading marketer, distributor and technology innovator of stored-value gift and prepaid products; and Zeevex, an open virtual currency provider, today announced a strategic partnership that will allow consumers to exchange gift cards for Zeevex shopping power. Consumers will now be able to use gift cards to purchase hundreds of online games, music, movies and other digital content. Zeevex was acquired by InComm in 2010, and this joint venture is an expansion of the Plastic Jungle partnership with InComm, which began in early 2012.
Making gift cards more fungible could increase their appeal to shoppers, but there is a risk for issuers. If a closed-loop card begins to lose its brand identity by being accepted elsewhere, then the intrinsic value of the card is weakened, if not lost all together. The risk to the gift card industry is that gift givers will revert to giving cash, since it is nearly identical to a gift card that can be redeemed anywhere.
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