For some people, giving a gift card is something to be avoided, an expression of how little they know or care about the person in question. For others, it's a gift of maximum versatility, allowing the user to not only get the things they'd like, on their own schedule, but also at no charge to them, allowing them to spend that money elsewhere if they're so inclined. But for GiftYa LLC, a spinoff of parent site GiftCards.com, the entire process of giving and using gift cards could stand a note of shoring up. So armed with a fresh $1 million in seed capital, as they announced today, they're out to make gift cards more convenient and a better value overall.
GiftYa's new product will convert the standard gift card into a gift credit, which in turn will change how gift cards are not only bought, but also used. In a conversion from gift card to gift credit, users will buy a GiftYa credit rather than a gift card. The credit is then sent by e-mail, text message, or Facebook post--or any combination of the above--to the target, who can then take their credit card and have the purchase be credited against their GiftYa credit. Meanwhile, if the recipient's purchases come to more than the GiftYa credit would cover, the credit card itself can come into play for the balance, while in the event the purchase is less than the credit allows, the buyer gets those funds back, so users don't have to carry a bunch of partial credit gift cards around. Better yet, it also prevents that unpleasant phenomenon when a gift card expires with partial credit on it, resulting in waste all around except for the issuer, who basically gets free money.
GiftYa is set to launch in the first half of this year, so potentially just in time for graduation season to start up. The $1 million in question came, reportedly, from GiftCards.com founder Jason Wolfe, who stated Giftcards.com's commitment to growth with his remarks: "We're committed to further growing and transforming the gift card industry and also leading this growth since we entered the industry 14 years ago. GiftYa is the next generation game-changing invention which we have spent three years conceiving, developing and patenting. The patented technology solves most of the shortcomings of the current gift card product; GiftYa is digital, can be used at any merchant worldwide, can be customized, has no fees, can be delivered within minutes, and unused funds are returned to the buyer."
With many gift card buyers out there, it's not surprising that the concept is being retooled. While some may say that the "unspent gift card returned to buyer" part is a little unnecessary--some gift cards are good for multiple uses, especially in the cases of grocery store, video rental or restaurant gift cards--in some cases it makes perfect sense. The improvement in convenience will no doubt be welcome, especially for relatives who don't live locally yet want to provide a bit of Christmas cheer or birthday wishes or other similar special occasion fun.
While GiftYa's plan for the gift card market likely won't be universally welcomed, there will be plenty of worthwhile situations that make GiftYa a welcome gift indeed. Only time will tell just how far this is adopted, but the chances are good it will end up doing brisk business.
Edited by Brooke Neuman