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App developer unlocks gift card opportunity


The proliferation of gift cards has spawned the creation of unique app that can help retailers unlock the value of unspent gift cards.

The new app from Kofax Limited allows consumers to check the balance of a gift card by taking a photo of the card. At first blush, the new app appears to solve a problem that shoppers’ didn’t know they had considering balances are readily obtained by asking a store associate to swipe the card or by dialing a toll-free number. However, neither of those approaches is as convenient as the new app from Kofax nor as beneficial to retailers.

“By offering a convenient way to check balances via smartphones, retailers can now make it easier for consumers to spend gift cards,” said Drew Hyatt, SVP of mobile applications at Kofax. “This is just one more value-added mobile service that card issuers using the Kofax Mobile Capture Platform can offer to increase customer loyalty and revenue.”

Retailers have a powerful incentive to encourage shoppers to use every last penny on their stored value cards. Of the roughly $140 billion in annual gift card volume, an annual report from CEB TowerGroup, estimates that $1.7 billion goes unspent. That pot of money potentially ends up in the coffers of cash-strapped states looking to boost revenue by collecting unused retail gift card funds under abandoned property laws, according to Kofax.

Retailers have significant motivation to prevent that from happening because CEB TowerGroup’s report also shows that consumers spend on average 20% to 30% more when they use a gift card or apply gift card funds to retail purchases.

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