USPS Adds Blackhawk Network Gift Card Malls (Dec. 10, 2014)
Blackhawk Network this week announced a new distribution deal with the U.S. Postal Service, introducing the company’s gift card malls to select post offices in time for the holiday season. Blackhawk expects to expand its gift card malls to more locations, where consumers can purchase closed-loop gift cards and open-loop cards from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
The partnership dovetails with the USPS’s goal of enhancing consumer services and products at its branches, said Nagisa Manabe, USPS chief marketing and sales officer. The USPS last month issued an RFP to firms, asking for approaches to expand the agency’s financial services offerings, potentially including prepaid cards. This is not the first time the USPS has tried selling gift cards. In May 2011 the agency launched a two-year pilot in which American Express gift cards were sold at certain post office branches.
Blackhawk Network President Talbott Roche said Blackhawk’s experience will help drive positive results. “Consumers frantic with holiday stress will now have an easy, convenient opportunity to buy their holiday gift cards while providing a new top-line source of revenue for the USPS.”
A similar concept is producing gains in the U.K., according to the Prepaid International Forum (PIF). The U.K.-based trade organization this week said sales of closed-loop gift cards are stronger so far this year, boosted by approximately 2,000 high-volume U.K. Post Office branches displaying racks of physical gift cards from multiple U.K. retailers. In previous years, gift cards were stored behind the counter.
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