January 3, 2013

Virtual Gift Cards


Scott: Chances are, you might have received a gift card this past holiday season. It is estimated that about 80% of shoppers purchased a gift card during the holiday season. And one survey found that 60% of us were hoping for one. So, if you did get a gift-card, was it a digital one?

Commercial Voice: Introducing Square gift cards. Instantly send a thoughtful gift to anyone, anytime, right from your phone.

Scott: The latest thing in gift cards comes from the makers of Square Wallet. It is a mobile app for your smartphone that lets a user search the directory for any sort of business.

For example, if you happen to be in downtown Pittsburgh, a restaurant like Franktuary might pop up or a nearby coffee and tea shop. Pick an amount, write a message, and with a tap, your gift is instantly sent to your friend’s inbox. Then, they either use their phone to redeem it or print out a QR Code.

QR Codes are those black and white square dot designs that you see almost everywhere. QR stands for Quick Response Code and were first designed back in 1994 for the Japanese auto industry. Those patterns are actually a code containing a lot of data.

Now, any smartphone with a QR reader can scan the code and get whatever information is embedded within the QR pattern. QR Codes work with both an iPhone or an Android device and are helping change the world of gift cards.

Now, maybe you received something from Giftly, which lets people give someone a gift card for almost anything. You pick any item or event – say, a mani-pedi or trip to a barbershop or a night out for dinner – and then plug in a dollar amount. Giftly CEO Tim Bentley says whatever you think up, it can be made into a Giftly for someone.

Tim Bentley: Some of the funniest ones end up actually being people gifting tattoos to each other.

Scott: If you did get a Giftly card, here is how you can redeem it: Let’s say you get a message saying your Giftly card is worth $100. That $100 can then be sent to any credit, debit or even PayPal account you have. Yeah, it is that simple.

Tim: We wanted to make a gift card that would be easier to use, that could send you reminders to use it and that would be more flexible.

Scott: Bentley says thousands of people tried Giftlys this past holiday season and they were easy to send, either through email, texts or even on Facebook.

Scott Evans, Channel One News.


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