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Affirm Teams With Blackhawk Network as Gift Card Use Grows

Payment network Affirm teamed with digital gift card distributor Blackhawk Network.

The collaboration is designed to give consumers more choice and freedom in buying gift cards, which are surging in popularity amid the holidays, according to a Tuesday (Dec. 12) press release.

Shoppers can now use Affirm to purchase digital gift cards on the company’s app or website with a “quick, real-time approval process.” After they’re approved, shoppers can choose from one of Affirm’s installment payment plans.

“At Affirm, we believe that people should not be penalized for being late, whether on their payments or shopping for any last-minute gifts,” said Affirm Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Becca Stone in the release. “A recent Affirm survey found that 70% of Americans plan to purchase a gift card this holiday season. Now, they can use Affirm’s transparent and flexible payment options for one of their most popular purchases.”

Meanwhile, Brett Narlinger, head of global commerce for Blackhawk, said in the release that the overall U.S. gift card market is expected to reach $260 billion over the next three years.

“By partnering with BHN and Affirm, merchants will give eligible holiday shoppers additional flexibility to finance last-minute gift purchases after most holiday shipping deadlines have passed,” he said.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS Intelligence found that gift cards have emerged as the second-most favored holiday gift choice, with more than a third of shoppers saying they plan to purchase them this year.

The surge in popularity is on display via an October collaboration between payments company InComm and Venmo, which is designed to let users personalize gifting occasions with popular gift card brands directly through the app.

The prevalence of gift cards makes sense, PYMNTS reported last week, “given the fact that we’re living in such an inflationary environment, and the cards themselves can boost a recipient’s spending power at a favored store or site.”

Digital gift cards have certain advantages over their plastic counterparts.

“Often, recipients stow away these cards in their wallets or purses, unintentionally overlooking them amidst the accumulation of their belongings over time, resulting in these once-considerate gifts going untouched,” PYMNTS wrote in September. “Expiration dates on specific gift cards only worsen the situation, placing recipients at risk of forfeiting the card’s value.”