According to a Wednesday (Oct. 18) news release, the new feature offers eligible Venmo customers personalized ways to mark gifting occasions with popular gift card brands directly via the app.
“For several years running, our annual holiday study has found that gift cards top the list of items that gift-givers anticipate purchasing for the holiday season,” Brian Parlotto, executive vice president at InComm Payments, said in the release.
“Partnering with Venmo provides consumers with a fun, convenient way to celebrate the holidays and other occasions throughout the year — all on the same app that they use every day to send funds to friends and family.”
According to the release, customers can now use Venmo to send and receive digital gift cards for popular consumer brands, with those cards stored on the in-app wallet for future redemption. Customers can also customize their gifts with a short animation that comes with digital gift cards, to celebrate things like holidays and birthdays to graduations and weddings.
“Venmo’s in-app digital gift card offerings are powered by InComm InCentives’ bulk gift card ordering solutions, which enhance rewards and recognition programs to drive meaningful relationships between brands and consumers as well as businesses and employees,” the release said.
The partnership is happening at a time when physical gift cards may soon be phased out, as reported here in September.
California has adopted a bill that would ban the issuance of plastic gift cards after Jan. 1, 2027 in favor of greener options. It follows an announcement earlier this year by Mastercard that it would accelerate its efforts to remove “first-use” PVC plastics from its payments card by 2028.
As for the cards still in circulation, many businesses are facing a persistent problem with physical gift cards: they get lost or forgotten.
“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 last month.
“Expiration dates on specific gift cards only worsen the situation, placing recipients at risk of forfeiting the card’s value.”
If a card goes unused after a period of several years (the time frame is different from state to state), the merchant must repay the value of the card to the state.
“It’s considered lost property,” said Metz. “It actually sits on a liability on the books for the merchant.”