There is evidence that when you buy a gift card for a family member or friend, there is a good chance that you will not give a gift to the retailer or the bank that also issued it.
According to TowerGroup, a financial services advisory firm, recipients left nearly $ 5 billion worth of gift cards last year. The unspent money, which the gift card industry calls a “break,” is held in a guarantee account until the issuer, usually a retail giant, decides to record it as sales. Best Buy saw discounts of $ 38 million last year, while The Home Depot financed $ 37 million the same year, reports the New York Times.
A new company that is committed to developing a new type of gift card that cardholders will not miss is selling the Tango card, which allows recipients to shop at eleven different retailers and donate or exchange money for charity. for money.
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The Tango Card is not the first to offer a solution for the unused multi-million dollar gift cards that accumulate every year. The Federal Reserve proposed new industry guidelines early last Christmas to reduce the value of lost gift cards. Starting in August, a company will have to wait at least five years according to the rules before calling an “expired” card and then calling the unused credit.
However, the rules can only have limited impact. Expiration dates are often not responsible for unused gift cards, people are. We tend to throw away gift cards when they have little or no credit. (How many of them are currently collecting dust from their wallets or purses?)
While the new rules may reduce the transfer of value from the buyer to the gift card issuer, they have no impact on global sources of commitment to gift cards, such as lost or forgotten cards, said economist Joel Waldfogel. in an interview with HuffPost.
Waldfogel refers to a 2007 Consumer Reports survey that found that 27% of gift card recipients used zero or more gift cards one year after receiving them. The three main reasons? Cardholders said they did not have enough time (58%), did not find what they wanted (35%), or forgot the card (32%). In particular, only 4% of respondents said they had not used the card because it had expired.
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In the last chapters of a book he published in late 2009, Waldfogel even recorded a Christmas wish for the ineffectiveness of the Christmas gift. Economist Scrooge asked the industry for a new type of gift card that not only reminds recipients who still have cards but also transfers the card’s balance to charities after a period of inactivity.
At the same time, David Leeds, CEO of Tango Card, an entrepreneur in the series with several successful startups, launched an iPhone app that allows consumers to better manage the value of their gift cards. With the app, users could save gift card information, check credit, and set reminders.
Last month, Leeds reissued a new tango card. The startup web platform and iPhone app continue to deliver informative content that reminds users of their card balance.