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PURCHASE, N.Y. – In what is beginning to resemble an avalanche, yet another survey has appeared which testifies to the eagerness with which American consumers have welcomed pre-paid gift cards. A research firm hired by MasterCard conducted the survey among 3,000 consumers in October. The survey found that more consumers (79%) would rather have a gift card worth $100 than would want an actual gift worth $100. “A growing number of consumers are realizing the convenience and flexibility prepaid gift cards offer,” said Scott Galit, senior vice president of global prepaid programs at MasterCard. “Prepaid cards are an ideal way to save time shopping, minimize gift wrapping and stay within a budget. More importantly, they ultimately result in recipients getting gifts that are truly important to them.” Many of the survey’s results mirrored those of previous surveys which have also witnessed strong consumer approval for the cards. Ninety-six percent of the survey respondents cited flexibility, convenience and satisfaction as reasons they liked the cards. While 78% of respondents reported routinely exceeding their gift budgets at holiday time, 83% said they expected to be able to stay within budget limits by purchasing cards. More than 87% of consumers surveyed said that they would rather receive a so-called open loop gift card which can be used anywhere that MasterCard is accepted than a gift card which can only be used at the issuing store. This is significant because it is these open loop cards, which can often have money added to them, about which regulators have expressed concern because of their money laundering capabilities. The ability to avoid giving an unwanted gift is driving the popularity of prepaid cards. For example, 46% of respondents said that they have given a gift that the recipient did not like. Another 81% view prepaid gift cards as a way to avoid that problem and to ensure recipients can purchase what they really want. The majority (63%) of people who receive an open-loop gift card are likely to spend it at the mall as opposed to a grocery store or gas station.

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