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How to Buy Bulk Gift Cards

Bulk gift  card purchases are a cost effective way for your businesses rewards program or towards a major purchase. For example bulk gift cards can be used to reward employees for their hard work, provide incentives for reaching goals or distributed to clients. Whether you are are small business with just a few employees or a major corporation with hundreds, you can save money by purchasing bulk gift cards at a discount.

Another use for bulk gift cards is as payment  for corporate events. Do you plan on hosting your office party at a restaurant or perhaps renting out a theater for a presentation? You could save an additional 5-10% on the entire cost with discount wholesale gift cards.

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Buy Bulk Gift Cards

First, you should determine what sort of program you’re going to use the gift cards for. If they are for an incentive program, your best option may be the prepaid American Express or Visa gift cards that can virtually be used anywhere. If you are rewarding your employees take their interests into account and reward them accordingly. Wholesale gift card programs offer a variety of options including stores like Neiman Marcus or restaurants like Dave & Busters.

Second, when choosing a supplier its important to look at the number of merchants and discounts offered. Also note that not all merchants come with the same discount.  The supplier should have a clear list of the different gift card merchants available and their respective discounts. It’s also important to note that discounts offered on bulk gift cards do change, depending on the time of the year and the season. Usually, during the holidays, bulk gift card discounts are larger because merchants are gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season and want to sell as many gift cards as possible. That should be the best time to look for the best discounts on gift cards.

Choices to Make When Buying Gift Cards

The National Retail Federation pointed out that 80% of all consumers will buy a gift card this holiday season. It’s important that when buying a gift card for someone that you know more about the card, terms and conditions and what merchants are the most popular. You want to make sure that the gift card that you buy ends up being used and does not end up on a gift card exchange website.

Open Loop vs Closed Loop

An open loop gift card comes with very few restrictions and can be used universally at almost any merchant. Common open-loop gift cards include; Visa Gift Cards, AMEX Gift Cards, and Prepaid Debit Cards. It is important to note that open loop gift cards will often come with fees and charges that are not found with closed loop gift cards. The most popular option for open loop gift cards is probably the Vanilla Visa gift card.

Prepaid Visa Cards Are the #1 Open Loop Cards

Closed loop gift cards are restricted for use at the merchant that they were purchased for. For example a McDonald’s gift card can only be used at McDonald’s locations and nowhere else. Some closed loop gift cards have multiple uses and can be used at all of a corporations different brands. The Gap Gift Card can be used at Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime. While the Olive Garden gift card can also be used at Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, LongHorn Steakhouse and the Capital Grille.

Top Rated Gift Cards

It’s important when buying a gift card that you choose one that is easy to be redeemed, comes with a variety of options and does not expire. The most popular gift cards for 2011 were Walmart, Amazon.com and Target. Picking any of these gift cards will definitely leave the recipient happy because they can spend the balance on almost anything.

If you choose a gift card on this list, then you are almost guaranteed to make that persons day. We also like to recommend gift cards like Starbucks, McDonald’s and the Apple Store.

 

NRF Survey: Gift Cards are the Most Wanted Holiday Gift

The National Retail Federation just released their 2011 Holiday Survey and once again gift cards have beat out all other options to remain the most wanted holiday gift. According to the survey, 80.2% of all holiday shoppers will purchase a gift card, up over 3% from 2010. It is estimated that consumers will spend on average $155.43 in gift cards with total spending reaching around $27.8 billion.

Consumers look to purchase gift cards not because of the convenience, but they like to allow the recipient to choose their own gift. It’s easier to allow someone to purchase something on their own, rather than picking something out that might not be desired.

Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO said,

With discretionary gifts expected to be popular, many consumers will view gift cards as an ‘everyday value item,’ affording their loved ones the option of buying something they really want or need.

We recommend that consumers follow the Top 20 Most Popular Gift Cards list that we released when choosing what gift card to buy this holiday season. These types of gift cards were determined to be the most popular by the NRF survey.

Most Popular Gift Cards

Data collected from 2011 NRF Survey.

The trends found in this survey actually match the same data that was released by GiftCardRescue.com in the top 20 most popular gift cards list. In the top 20 list, Walmart, Amazon.com and Target were the most desired gift cards and these merchants are each considered department stores. The only variation found between the two surveys were the popularity of restaurant gift cards in the NRF survey, where as in the GCR survey only two restaurant gift cards made it into the top 20.

As a gift card exchange retailer, we see a massive spike in restaurant gift cards that are sold for cash or Amazon.com credit immediately after Christmas. It appears that while consumers have the mindset that restaurant gift cards are desired, in actuality people prefer the department store and specialty merchants more.

Gift Cards Available at Safeway

Safeway has a wide variety of gift cards available in store for your purchase. Whether you’re running late for a party or other occasion, you always have time to stop by your local Safeway [store locator] and pick up a gift card. There are over 300 different brands and types of gift cards that you can buy at Safeway, so you are sure to find a gift for anyone that you may know.

We divided the gift cards up into categories so that it would be easier to go through the list.

Restaurant Gift Cards

  • Applebees
  • Baja Fresh
  • BJ’s Restaurants
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Boston Pizza
  • Brinker
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Claim Jumper Restaurant
  • Coldstone Creamery
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Darden Group (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse)
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Earls Rest
  • Jack in the Box
  • Jamba Juice
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood
  • McDonald’s
  • Mimi’s Cafe
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Panera Bread
  • Pappas Restaurants
  • Peets Coffee
  • PF Changs
  • Pizza Hut
  • Prime Restaurants
  • Red Robin Restaurants
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Starbucks
  • Stuart Anderson
  • Subway
  • TGI Friday’s

Games and Electronics Gift Cards

  • Best Buy
  • Blockbuster
  • Build-A-Bear
  • Dave and Busters
  • Ebay
  • Forzani
  • Gamestom
  • Nexon
  • Overstock.com
  • Toys R Us

Clothing & Shoes Gift Cards

  • Aeropostale
  • Bath & Body Works
  • BEBE
  • Claires
  • Destination Maternity
  • Footlocker
  • Gap
  • Hudson Bay Company
  • K-Mart
  • Kohl’s
  • La Senza
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Regis
  • Talbots
  • Target
  • The Body Shop
  • TJ Maxx

Home and Grocery Gift Cards

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Bonton
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Home Depot
  • Jo-Ann Stores
  • Michaels
  • Petsmart
  • Sears
  • Williams-Sonoma

Recreation and Travel

  • American Airlines
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Booth Creek
  • Cabelas
  • Chevron
  • GI Joe Sports
  • Golfsmith
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Jiffy Lube
  • MLB
  • Marriot
  • NFLShop.com
  • Nike
  • Recreational Equipment INC
  • Shell Oil
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spafinder

Entertainment

  • Bear Valley Ski Resort
  • Busch Gardens
  • Disney Company and Resorts
  • Disney Gift
  • Legoland
  • Paramount
  • Six Flags
  • Ticketmaster
  • Travelocity
  • Universal Hollywood

American Express Launches New Prepaid Plastic

Over the past year, there has been significant growth in the credit card and debit card markets, but more in the latter. Credit card transactions grew by about 4% to $1.96 trillion while debit card transactions grew by almost 14% to over $1.8 trillion in the same time. American Express never really benefited from the growth like VISA and MasterCard did since they don’t issue debit cards, but in an attempt to gain some spoils of the growth, American Express has entered the prepaid card market.

The Card giants recently announced a new prepaid card that offers users the convenience of an American Express card without assuming additional credit by tapping into their already existing funds.

No limit on Transaction Fees.

One advantage American Express will play on is that unlike debit cards, there is no cap on transaction fees with Prepaid cards. Issuing banks often charge transaction fees on debit cards, but the Fed recently capped those fees at 12 cents per transactions from the percentage based fees charged in the past.

The fact that those caps don’t apply to prepaid cards have led to an increase in sale of prepaid cards by banks, up to about 35% rise in dollar volume of prepaid card transactions to $65 billion in 2010 from $48 billion in 2009.

It helps American Express grow its Cardmember base

Generally, American Express has a card member base considered to be the richest, which has shown over the years in how much money is spent by the average card holder. The higher income cardmember base also leads to lower defaults and allows American Express to charge merchants a higher transaction fee as American Express presents them consumers with a much higher spending power compared to others.

On the other hand, this limits growth in the number of card members. Prepaid cards enable American Express to expand its cardmember base beyond its current “well to do” customers while increasing the number of transactions.

Prepaid VISA Gift Cards

A prepaid gift card is as simple as using a credit card, only better. A prepaid card is an ideal gift to give your loved ones especially if you don’t know what to bring them. They serve as excellent birthday, thanksgiving, Christmas or even graduation gifts.

A prepaid VISA gift card is basically a credit card that has a predetermined limit on it. If you want to gift somebody a card for $500 you can set that as your limit. In such a case, the person you are gifting the card to can shop using the VISA card at any departmental or other type of stores. In effect, you will be buying the individual whatever he or she is swiping that card on. It is the same thing as giving somebody an envelope with money only this is a far more stylish and sophisticated method.

There is a range of six kinds of VISA prepaid cards.

There is the VISA travel money card. This is similar in concept as the gift card but is used primarily while traveling. You can set a limit on the card and make sure that you stay within a budget during your vacation. This is a far more convenient method of spending money. VISA cards are always more classy to have in your wallet also it doesn’t tie you down with change or any other related problem. For example, if you are on a vacation and there aren’t any ATMs around and you run out of cash! This could be an awful situation to be in. Having a visa travel prepaid card will ensure that such events never arise.

There is the Healthcare VISA prepaid card. This is a wonderful card to have which can be used only for your medical expenses even if it is only getting your prescription medicines from the drug store.

The VISA payroll card is an interesting concept. It can be used to pay out staff and other employees. It saves the trouble of handing them checks or cash. Thus us another way of saving paper.

If you are considering letting children handle credit cards, then a good idea will be to give them the VISA Buxx card. This way, you can keep track of all their spending right down to their last cent and not worry about them spending on the wrong things.

The VISA reloadable as the name suggests is a type of prepaid card that can be used more than once. The card can be charged over and over when there is a requirement of money.  Cards have made spending and carrying money extremely convenient and easy. One doesn’t have to worry about bulging pocket because of the size of their wallets or carry large purses to accommodate their wallets. VISA cards can be simply slipped into your pockets and no one will even notice.

Telemundo Branded Gift Cards Targets Hispanics

Telemundo and NBC have partnered with inComm to introduce a new line of Telemundo-branded Visa and MasterCard gift cards which hit retail locations at the end of last month. Incomm is a leader in sales and marketing of prepaid products and transaction processing. The telemundo gift cards are licensed through NBC Universal Television Consumer products and the deal was brokered by Big Tent Entertainment, which is the licensing agent for the Telemundo brand.

The Telemundo gift cards were introduced to “offer Telemundo fans and the Hispanics they are targeting” a convenient financial service from a recognized brand within the community. Offered in a variety of designs, the cards can be the perfect gift for anyone on the gift list. Each Visa  or MasterCard gift card will feature Telemundo branding, as well as traditional Hispanic holidays and themes such as Quinceanara and futbol.

The purchasing power of the Hispanic community exceeds $1 trillion and the goal of this new cards is to enhance the buying power of the community. Incomm sees the partnership as a way for them to offer innovative product to their retail partners and strengthen their commitment and support of the Hispanic marketplace.

Telemundo recently announced that according to Nielsen Media Research, through the first 6 weeks of the second quarter of 2011, the network is the fastest growing broadcast network with the largest percentage gain versus the first quarter of 2011 during Monday through Friday prime among adults 18-34. The network captured 32% of Spanish language TV viewership in May.

Using Gift Cards As Rewards

Many businesses have recently been reporting that majority of their employees say they would rather receive gift cards as a reward for their efforts than any other incentive, even cash! Arguments might be plenty that gift cards aren’t personal enough, however, one can’t argue about the fact that they are more appealing as a reward than cash.

Gift Cards are more cherished and they have a longer ‘holding’ capacity, where they can be kept as a souvenir, whereas cash is so easily disposable.

Gift Cards also afford business owners the opportunity to reward their employees while also conveying some sort of familiarity  with their employees. When employees get the idea that an employer has taken the time to learn their likes and dislikes, the type of food they eat, type of store they patronize etc, the employees feel a lot more appreciated and inspired to work that much harder.

In recent studies, the Incentive Research Foundation found that incentives increase work performance by an average of 22%. Gift cards can serve as the right incentive in that not only can it be a trophy, it is primarily money to an ‘appreciated’ merchant. It is also important to note that according to the research, majority of the participants said travel incentives and merchant based incentives were on top of their wish list. Wondering where to find them? GiftCardRescue.com affords business owners the chance to buy discounted gift cards in bulk as rewards.

New Style Auction Sites Selling Discounted Gift Cards

Recently, many new style auction sites have been popping up all over the internet. These Auction sites, like www.bidzillion.com are very different from traditional sites like eBay. Most people are familiar with how eBay works, even if you’ve never used it before. You place you bid on an item you want to purchase and whoever out bids the other guy, is the winner.

Sites like Bidzillion work in a very different way. Let me start by saying that these sites claim you can buy brand new items at up to 99% off retail price. And after doing some research, it does appear that this is possible. However, in order to place a bid, you must first buy a “package” of bids. These can range anywhere from $15.00 for 20 bids, to $500.00 for 1,000 bids.

So, before you can even attempt to bid on an item, your spending money. The way the auction works is very different from traditional auction sites as well. All the items, which is typically about 30-50 items available to bid on, have a countdown timer displayed which typically lasts about 6 to 9 hours. Usually, there is no action on the items until minutes before the auction is ending.

So, as an item I was interested in, a $100 American Express Gift Card came down to about 5 minutes left. I placed a bid. The way the bidding works is that every bid is 1 penny more than the last. So at the time of my bid there was .15 cents already placed. I placed my bid, took it up to 16 cents and anxiously awaited my gift card.

However, shortly after, I was out bided by another cent! I bid again, and then so did somebody else. What eventually happened is that as the timer goes down, someone would place a last second bid, and then the timer restarts! It restarts at a 10 second count down, so every 10 seconds someone would throw a bid on it, over and over again restarting the timer!

This went on for hours, in fact about 2 hours until the auction finally ended. As a result the gift card cost got up to around 8.oo, but I had placed my last bid hours ago.

The only way this style auction would be useful, is if you had hours to sit around and spend watching the bids, making sure you are the last one bidding. After the money it costs to actually buy the bids and the time it takes to win the auction, I can conclude that this was a big waste of time and money!

It’s almost impossible to get the item you’re actually interested and buying bids is expensive. If you’re looking to buy discounted gift cards, or discounted anything; in my opinion its best to stick with websites who offer set discounts on these items in a straight forward, easy manner.

Gift Cards Online – Review of Amazon.com e-Gift Card

Amazon.com is the biggest online store in the US. If you are struggling to get a last minute gift for a friend, family member or co-worker, you can never go wrong with an Amazon.com e-gift card. They can be used to purchase millions of items on Amazon.com from a huge selection of Books, Electronics, Music, DVDs, Software, Apparel, Toys, and much more.

Here are the notable features of the Amazon.com e-Gift Card

  • Amazon.com e-Gift Cards can be purchased in any amount from $5-$5,000
  • The Gift Card Codes are emailed immediately to the recipient after payment is made.
  • The e-Gift Card has to be added to the recipient’s account in order to use it. The email accompanying the card has instructions on how to add the gift card to your Amazon.com account.
  • The balance on the card is automatically updated in the Amazon.com account after each use.
  • The Amazon.com e-gift cards have no expiration and carry no fees
  • They can be redeemed at Amazon.com or affiliate Endless.com
  • Gift Cards cannot be used to purchase other gift cards on Amazon.com
  • Amazon.com e-gift cards are not replaceable when lost, stolen, and destroyed.

To buy the Amazon.com gift card, click here.

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