Mastercard Partners to Launch First Mobile Wallet Gift Card

Mastercard Partners to Launch First Mobile Wallet Gift Card

January 2, 2020

A digital gift card is rolling out in Europe that can be delivered directly to a mobile wallet.

The mobile wallet gift card is from Mastercard, which partnered with CleverCards and Appreciate Group plc to offer what it describes as “the first gift card sent directly to a mobile wallet.” Shoppers can send the card immediately to a shopper via email, text or message app. Recipients can add the digital Mastercard to their mobile wallet to “tap-n-pay” in-store, or buy online. The gift card functions as a prepaid Mastercard once activated.

“Revolutionizing a prepaid gifting industry that was previously weighed down by postage fees and high physical production and distribution costs, the gift card functions as a secure prepaid Mastercard once activated by the recipient,” said Mastercard in a statement.

In the U.S., gift cards were a $160 billion market in 2018. And in 2019, gift cards remain the most popular item on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed, according to the annual winter holiday survey from the National Retail Federation.

A report from Persistence Market Research finds global sales of digital gift cards and vouchers totaled $307 billion in 2017 and will grow to nearly $700 billion by 2024. Blackhawk Network, a company that sells gift cards through supermarkets, pharmacies and other third-party stores, says 41 percent of consumers in Gen Z (those born after 1995) purchase e-gift cards at least once every three months, along with 39 percent of Millennials.

But e-gift cards, like regular plastic gift cards, are a common target for fraudsters. Like plastic cards, e-gift cards are very easily monetized by criminals. Radial, an omnichannel commerce technology and operations company, finds e-gift cards overall experience one of the highest attack rates of any product sold by its clients. Fraudsters attack digital gift cards at a rate of nearly 17 percent, according to Radial.

The makers of the new Mastercard mobile wallet gift card say it “reimagines” how gift cards can be used in a mobile-enabled world.

“This is money reimagined for the new generation of consumers and providers, including safety, security and regulatory compliance,” said Kealan Lennon, founder and CEO of CleverCards, in a statement.

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Joan Goodchild

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