The recent holiday season proved very beneficial for the ATIRAgift card, a prepaid, open-loop card offered by The Members Group, a payments CUSO affiliated with the Iowa Credit Union League.
Open-loop cards are those which carry a major card brand and which may be used wherever that card brand is accepted. Closed loop cards are really more akin to traditional gift certificates and can only be used at sites designated by the issuer, usually a retailer.
TMG reported that it sold 25% more gift cards in 2011 than it did in 2010, both because an additional 29 credit unions around the country now offer its Visa-branded gift card and because consumers' acceptance of the cards has continued to grow.
“Over time, consumers have come to recognize the open-loop gift card as not only an option, but the better option, when compared to closed-loop cards,” said Christensen, TMG’s retail payments product manager. “As well, many of TMG’s clients have put forth high-quality, targeted marketing campaigns to successfully reach the likely gift card buyers in their individual markets.”
The average dollar amount loaded to ATIRAgift cards remained unchanged at roughly $82.50 during both the 2010 and 2011 holiday seasons, the CUSO reported.