Before going any further into what could be an exciting announcement, I want to go over two terms to help you understand the rest of this post:
Closed Loop Gift Cards – These are gift cards designed for a specific merchant, and cannot be used like any Visa, MasterCard or Amex card. For example, a gift card to Applebee’s is a closed-loop gift card.
Open Loop Gift Card – These are gift cards that are designed to act like any traditional Visa, MasterCard or Amex card, whereby you can use them at any merchant that accepts that specific credit card. For example, a Visa gift card for $100 is an open-loop gift card.
So, that out of the way, there’s two, new interesting developments in the stocking of these cards at your local United States Postal Service, all announced by Blackhawk Network, the leading producer of open and closed loop cards.
Closed loop gift cards will be available for purchase starting this holiday season and beyond.
“The USPS is excited to work with Blackhawk Network to offer gift cards in our post offices – it is a completely natural fit,” said Nagisa Manabe, USPS chief marketing and sales officer and executive vice president. “We have been focused on providing more consumer services and products and working with Blackhawk allows us to offer one of the best managed programs and product suites to our customers. The new gift card mall will really make our patrons’ experience with USPS even better.”
Coming in 2015, Blackhawk will begin to stock additional open-loop gift cards at USPS locations.
Coming in 2015, Blackhawk Network expects to expand distribution to additional USPS locations as well as offer open loop gift cards from a variety of payment networks which can be redeemed anywhere that network is accepted.
There’s an important sentence in there – “from a variety of payment networks which can be redeemed anywhere that network is accepted.” So, it may be possible to use a credit card to purchase these cards, or it may be possible that the USPS will begin to stock reloadable packs, such as Reloadit and Greendot. Take this announcement as you wish, but it’s an interesting development since most folks have a USPS within only a short drive from their house.
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