Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

More Personalised Gifting

Just in time for the holiday season, users will be able to design their own Visa gift card by visiting GiftCardLab.com. Here they can upload personal pictures or use stock images pulled off the site. In a market, estimated to be worth some $90 billion Visa’s new cards, being launched on 15th November, represent the latest attempt to win back some of the billions that have been siphoned off from the traditional credit-card business. One of the interesting facts about gift cards, and why they make so much business sense to companies is that many recipients never get around to fully redeeming them. It is estimated that about $8 billion of card value each year never get used, says research firm Tower Group. And some cards carry hidden fees, including ones that penalize holders for not using them right away. Visa, like the other credit-card companies, will collect a transaction fee again and again on the gift cards, until the value is exhausted. Visitors to the GiftCardLab site are told that the issuer, Marshall BankFirst, will deactivate them one year from their print date and charge an “account closure fee” before returning the balance in about three months. Such fees have drawn loud cries from public interest groups. Like any product these days, the Visa Gift Card site has a contest that gives out prizes for the best designed card.

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