CardWeb.com’s CardData Reports today features the Retail Gift Card Trends In The United States: 2014 In Review report from Mercator.
U.S. retail gift card loads grew 9% in 2014, despite a slow holiday season. Loads in the Employee and Partner Incentives segment declined in 2014 as the emphasis seemed to shift in the incentives market.
HSBC has rolled-out a loyalty rewards card with a PIN-based dual payment card option for retailers. The new “HSBC OptiPay” enables retailers to both process card transactions at a lower cost and also reward their customers with an affinity-based payment solution. The new program was created through a strategic alliance with Concept Shopping. Consumers who sign up for the merchant-branded card will be able to select from a variety of loyalty and payment options on one convenient card. During each shopping visit, cardholders will receive offers intended just for them. Shoppers will then be able to use their rewards for additional in-store purchases. HSBC Retail Services issues merchant-branded payment cards through the “Tempo Payment Network.” More than 200,000 merchant locations in the U.S. participate in the Tempo Payment Network.
CA-based Tempo Payments and OK-based gas retailer QuikTrip Corporation have introduced a company-branded debit card that will provide customers with lower-priced gas at the pump. QuikTrip will begin a phased roll-out of a debit card that can be used at 200,000 other retail outlets nationwide that accept payments via Tempo, including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and CVS. QuikTrip is a marketer of motor fuel and convenience store merchandise. Tempo provides all card-accepting merchants with a low fee per transaction that is significantly less expensive than traditional credit and debit cards.
Debitman Card, which operates in VISA USA’s backyard in California, has reinvented itself as Tempo Payments, Inc. The Company offers retailers with branded debit card programs delivering a low fee per transaction that is significantly less expensive than the fees charged by the major payment card networks. The Company recently announced four new retailer-branded card programs, and that Fiserv EFT will provide expanded processor access to the Tempo Payment Network for merchants issuing and accepting retailer-branded debit cards. Tempo also announced a strategic alliance with HSBC Retail Services. HSBC will handle card program fulfillment and support services. Additionally, Tempo was recently granted a U.S. Patent covering the company’s business model for enabling the use of interoperable merchant-branded consumer debit cards. The patent is titled: “Method And System For Facilitating Electronic Funds Transactions.” Retailer-issued debit cards utilizing the Tempo Payment Network can be used at more than 200,000 retail locations nationwide, including all Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and CVS stores. (CF Library 5/22/06; 9/28/06)
A new study has concluded that the unused value on gift cards, or “breakage”, has a bigger impact on consumers than the combined total of both debit and credit card fraud. The research found that nearly $8 billion is lost due to unredeemed value, expiration or loss of gift cards. Unlike dormant accounts in the traditional credit card realm, which typically fall under escheatment laws regulated by states, anonymous gift cards often languish on retailers’ accounting books. TowerGroup says that retailers do not generate revenue until a card is either used or permitted to be declared as dormant, they do receive a “free float” on unused cards. One large retailer recently showed a $42 million benefit to its income statement for unused gift cards more than two years old. As a result, TowerGroup says gift cards appear to make better presents for retailers and card issuers than the actual gifter or receiver. Debit and credit card fraud in the U.S. totals $3.5 billion annually.
WESCO Stores has joined the Debitman Card payment network and is now issuing its own branded debit cards to customers at its 51 Michigan locations. Consumers who sign up for WESCO’s debit card experience savings on gas purchases at any WESCO store, as well as the convenience of using the card at more than 200,000 merchant locations in the U.S. that participate in The Retailer’s Network, including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Barnes & Noble, and CVS. Credit card interchange fees function like a hidden tax on consumer purchases by forcing retailers to increase prices to offset costs; in 2005, MasterCard and Visa earned $30 billion from consumer card-based transactions. Debitman created and operates The Retailer’s Network, the only national, interoperable electronic payment network for retailer-issued debit cards.
San Mateo, CA-based Debitman Car got a big boost today from HSBC. The electronic payment network operator known as “The Retailer’s Network” will now have HSBC Retail Services drive its growth. HSBC will handle card program fulfillment and support services. Merchants who choose HSBC card programs to access Debitman receive significant cost savings compared with other card networks. Merchant integration into the “Retailer’s Network” requires neither POS modifications nor costly investment in card acceptance equipment. Customers who hold cards for network merchants will use one payment card, linked to their checking account, to pay for purchases and earn retailer loyalty rewards wherever the Retailer’s Network is accepted, currently more than 200,000 locations.
CA-based Debitman Card has named Mike Grossman, former CEO of LiveCapital, as its new CEO replacing Scott Hatfield who now becomes VP/Business Development but remains a member of the board. Under Grossman’s leadership, LiveCapital raised more than $70 million. Previously, Grossman was employed at Intuit, where he directed the marketing and development effort for Quicken on CD-ROM and launched the first version of Quicken Deluxe. He also managed Intuit’s first online banking product delivered via the Internet and America Online. Debitman created and operates The Retailer’s Network, an interoperable electronic payment network for retailer-issued debit cards.
Debitman Card, Inc., creator of The Retailer’s Network debit card payment system, announced the appointment of financial services industry veteran Anthony Ruebner as vice president of sales and relationship management. As vice president of business development at Dun & Bradstreet, Ruebner directed alliance and product development initiatives, including a joint product initiative with Visa U.S.A. As vice president of financial services with Dun & Bradstreet, he led an organization that consulted with leading financial institutions on risk management best practices.
New York-based Binghamton Giant Markets has agreed to issue its own branded “Giant EXTRA Plus” debit card to shoppers utilizing the Debitman Card network. The Giant EXTRA Plus Expanded Services will be issued to as many as 50,000 consumers in the Greater Binghamton area. Crdholders will be able to use their cards are more than 200,000 locations nationwide that are part of the Debitman Retailer’s Network, including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Clubs, CVS, Duane Reade, and Walgreen’s. Debitman is the provider of a shared network, retailer-issued PIN debit system that not only carries low transaction fees, but also provides retailers with revenue each time one of their cards is used for purchases.
Atlanta-based RBS Lynk is planning to provide access to the Debitman ACH debit network. Debitman is the only provider of a shared network, retailer-issued card. RBS says the primary incentive for retailers to issue store-branded debit cards was to reward consumers through their loyalty programs and keep the card value in their store network. However, with Debitman acceptance, retailers can take an active role in managing their electronic payment costs as well as save on network fees and receive incremental revenue as a card issuer. RBS Lynk says it recognizes Debitman as a debit network utilizing the national ACH system. Wal-Mart Stores recently announced it is accepting “Debitman” cards at the checkout in all Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations across the USA. The Debitman network interchange and switch fee is $0.15 per transaction and the network issuer rebate is generally $0.06 per transaction but can range higher. (CF Library 11/15/05)