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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Payments under the radar no more

News

Industry Update

FTC bites YMA

NACHA clarifies ACH rules

W.net spreads the mentoring net

VeriFone vows to fix faulty accounting

Fifth Third banks on gift card kiosks

PayPal eyeing more merchants

Free terminals are thorny

Features

New ATM security measures tackle fraud

Uwe Krause
ATMMarketplace.com

Views

Rock, paper, electronics

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Run from mean streets to clean streets

Steve Schwimmer
Renaissance Merchant Services

Education

Street SmartsSM:
New year, new plan

Dee Karawadra
Impact PaySystem

MLS or ISO: Which one are you?

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Visa, PCI council make security move

Michael Petitti
TrustWave

E-mail: It takes a plan

Nancy Drexler
Marketing Moguls

Receipts still reveal too much

David Mertz
Compliance Security Partners LLC

Company Profile

Credomatic USA

Barclay Square Leasing Inc.

New Products

Dialing for digital content

Bill2Phone
BSG Clearing Solutions

Card printer of a different stripe

Zebra P100i
Zebra Card Printer Solutions

Inspiration

Before you move on

Miscellaneous

AstroloGS

POScript

Departments

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 26, 2007  •  Issue 07:12:02

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Fifth Third banks on gift card kiosks

Fifth Third Bancorp has jumped on the gift card bandwagon, rolling out gift card kiosks to all its branch locations in its 11-state footprint. After an October trial of the Gift Card Center in pilot markets proved successful, the Cincinnati-based financial institution rushed the kiosks into its 1,200 branches in November to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. But the kiosks reportedly will remain in place year-round, the product offerings changing to suit customer preferences.

The bank now offers its customers not only checking and savings accounts, but also a wide range of prepaid gift cards, including MasterCard Worldwide- and American Express Co.-branded gift cards in any denomination, or gift cards from retailers such as Foot Locker, Lowe's, J.C. Penney, Dell, Eddie Bauer, Borders Books, Circuit City, and restaurants such as Applebee's and Subway.

Fifth Third makes money each time a gift card is purchased. The MasterCard and AmEx cards include a fee, a portion of which goes to the bank.

The move toward banks becoming more like retail environments, selling its customers products that are normally found at retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, gained momentum in 2005 when eFunds Corp., an electronic payments provider, introduced Card in a Box, a prepaid service offered to small and mid-sized bank and credit unions.

Then, in 2006, Lake Oswego, Ore.-based West Coast Bank teamed with coin-counting machine and prepaid card provider Coinstar to offer its Gift Card Mall suite of gift cards within its bank branches. It's not a kiosk, but instead the cards are displayed on J-hooks.

Retailers and restaurants taking part in the program include Starbucks, Hollywood Video, Linen n Things, Borders Books, Lids, Tony Roma's, Chili's Grill and Bar, Circuit City, AMC Theatres, KB Toys and Timberland.

The bank also offers cards from prepaid card provider Green Dot Corp. The strategy behind banks offering gift cards in their branches is seen as two-pronged:

Robert D. Sznewajs, President and Chief Executive Officer of West Coast Bank, said the bank's gift card program has been effective as a "one-stop convenience for the customer." But as a way to draw in new business, "I don't really think so," he said.

As for the future of gift cards in banks, Sznewajs is philosophical. "Banks have always been trying to emulate other successful retail concepts. ... Gift cards are another payment device, and a fast growing one." Although gift cards are a relatively small part of the overall equation, Sznewajs predicts "they're here to stay."

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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