Partnership Aims to Turn Unused Gift Cards into Bill Payments

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Plastic Jungle, a company that allows consumers to resell gift cards, and ChargeSmart, an online bill payment company, have announced a partnership that aims to let consumers use unredeemed gift cards to make bill payments. The idea underlying the partnership is that consumers have gift cards they never use and would like to apply that value towards other bills rather than in-store shopping.

Plastic Jungle brings liquidity to the secondary gift card market by allowing consumers to buy gift cards at their favorite stores for savings up to 35 percent, sell unredeemed gift cards for up to 92 percent of the gift card value, or donate the value of unused cards to their favorite cause. Through ChargeSmart and Plastic Jungle, consumers will be able to apply up to 92 percent of the value of a gift card toward an outstanding bill.

While the underlying idea is a good one on its face, the execution faces certain challenges. The main one is whether or not consumers have enough unused gift cards lying around that they want to convert into bill payments.
Some people may feel a little funny about converting a present from their mother into a light bill payment. Others may decide that $10 worth of gift cards is not worth the hassle of conversion. If the consumer is unwilling to take the card to a store, will he or she think of it for paying bills?

Additionally, there needs to be a good match between the cardholders and the billers for it to be worthwhile. While the idea is good, the execution needs to be managed carefully.

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