MESA, Ariz. -- A new company has begun to pioneer prepaid gift cards through ATMs.
Better ATM Services has announced that it has cut deals with two independent service organizations to being to offer gift cards though their ATMs. The roll out includes Amazon.com and restaurant.com gift cards, but CEO Todd Nuttall said later roll outs of the service will enable financial institutions to offer their own Visa or MasterCard branded gift cards through their ATMs.
"With recent economic news setting the stage for consumer shopping this holiday season and beyond, tough economic times mean consumers will increasingly demand more value. Gift cards with coupons and incentives distributed through ATMs provide just that," Nuttall said.
Nuttall said the independent service organization has four sites where it has deployed ATMs in conjunction with credit unions and that the credit unions have been enthusiastic about the new offering; he declined to name which credit unions. He also said that the Arizona Credit Union League has signaled its support for the product as well.
According to Nuttall, once Visa and MasterCard sign onto the idea of selling prepaid cards through an ATM, the product should take off quickly.
Jeff Falk, director of product development for TMG, said his company is looking at similar technology.
"TMG has this on our product development radar for expanding the distribution of our ATIRA gift cards," Falk said. "Now that there is enabling technology in the market allowing gift cards to be distributed via a standard ATM, the ball is in the hands of the card associations to allow for this distribution channel. Once that approval happens (and it is probably more about when and not if) the ATM will allow those financial institutions without large footprints of brick and mortar branches to leverage their ATMs as a gift card distribution footprint. It will also strengthen those financial institutions with large branch footprints in competition against the retail gift card channel."
He added, "At the end of the day, it is all about where you can touch the consumer and sell them a gift card...whether that is in-person at a branch, on a customer service call,...on the Web, at the point of sale at a retail store, or in the very near future at the ATM."