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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 22, 2024 • Issue 24:01:02

The path to prepaid's secure, digital future

By Mark Chambers

In today's digital-centric world, businesses must keep pace with the fast-moving digital payments landscape. Gift cards are being used in innovative ways to securely transfer value, enhance loyalty reward programs and power embedded payment solutions. This article shares insights into the state of gift cards and the digital evolution of this popular payment option.

AI's expansive role will keep shaping the industry

With 76 percent of consumers already expecting companies to understand their needs and expectations, according to All Digital Rewards (see tinyurl.com/3m6spt6b) AI is an important tool for unlocking increased brand engagement and loyalty.

For example, imagine the convenience of sending digital gift cards or managing rewards with natural language specifying recipients, amount, card choice and delivery times. Such streamlined interactions would prove invaluable for companies distributing holiday gift cards, managing incentives in connection with corporate goal attainment, or sending perfectly timed, digital rewards to recognize their team when a quota is achieved or an important deal is signed.

As AI platforms evolve to better understand the context and provide more valuable interactions for customers, companies that serve them can build trust and increase efficiency while providing an enhanced user experience.

Other growing uses of AI include creating personalized experiences tailored to each buyer. Spending habits and brand preferences can be instantly analyzed via algorithms, offering relevant purchase recommendations.

Embedded payments will continue to deliver convenience

Instant gratification, speed and efficiency create a seamless shopping experience for customers. McKinsey & Co. found that with 50 percent of card spending in the United States taking place online and a substantial portion of organizations relying on software solutions for managing business, companies that feature seamless embedded payment options swiftly surpass the competition. Embedded payments offer instant gratification, letting purchasers immediately buy an item without leaving the app/website.

The embedded payments market is already on track to to surpass $138 billion (see tinyurl.com/4ucsud5z). These payments offer intuitive checkout experiences by removing extra steps, keeping customers on one website and reducing the time required to complete a transaction through simple actions like Purchase Now buttons.

Major brands like Amazon and Uber take embedded payments further with gift card integration. Allowing users to seamlessly access digital gift cards can increase user convenience, speed up transactions, reduce cart abandonment and improve conversion rates. Starbucks has even used gift card integration to incentivize customers through its loyalty rewards program.

While integrating an embedded payments platform might seem daunting, low-code/no-code integration capabilities exist, allowing for collaboration and ease of use. Low-code enables non-developers to allow anyone to automate software development through drag-and-drop functionality. Quick and seamless integrations translate to quick and seamless transaction experiences for consumers.

New delivery options will prioritize flexibility

Advanced gift card platforms enable recipients to choose which business their gift card will be valid for after receiving the gift card. Whether trying to find an easy way to provide gas cards for employees of a nationwide company, recognizing a remote employee's decade-long tenure or thanking a first-time homebuyer for their business, offering an array of card options until the time of purchase empowers purchasers to celebrate moments uniquely and ensures recipients receive gifts they truly want, or can access exactly what they need with the card.

Life moves fast. Taking the guesswork out of gift-giving for families, colleagues and customers can make the process smoother. You think you know exactly what your customer wants or what your niece needs, but being able to swap cards with no barriers ensures you will never be wrong. Picture a gift-giving revolution where technology, driven by AI and dynamic card selection, ensures your recipient always receives the card they value most, redefining the landscape of holiday shopping, corporate spending and incentive strategies. Take the stress out of gift-giving by offering the best gift of all: a digital gift card toward whatever the recipient wants.

Battling gift card fraud will persist

According to the Better Business Bureau, gift card fraud cases increased by 50 percent in 2023, with online shoppers being the primary target. The Federal Trade Commission reported losses through September 2023 totaling $147 million, raising concerns for the industry overall. From social engineering to in-store card manipulation, scammers have several tactics to acquire sensitive information from physical gift cards. Once gift card information has been exposed, scammers can easily spend or reallocate money.

One effective solution is the adoption of dynamic hosted barcodes, which allow gift card issuers to autonomously generate new card details after each transaction. Other crucial security measures include continuous real-time transaction monitoring and real-time fraud monitoring.

Embracing a future-forward approach

When it comes to financial transactions, companies have the power to adapt and innovate in response to escalating security issues, exceed swiftly changing consumer expectations and stay on top of cutting-edge advancements like AI.

The future of the digital payments landscape relies not solely on technological advancements, but also on a customer-focused approach ingrained within your business. Forward-thinking companies will leverage AI-driven communication and personalization options to provide fast, flexible payment options. end of article

Mark Chambers is CEO of BlinkSky, https://blinksky.com, which enables companies to quickly build their own digital rewards programs, offering incentives to supercharge customer acquisition and loyalty.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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

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