Last October, online payment provider eBillme began offering online gift cards that consumers could redeem at e-retailer sites, and pay for via digital payments from consumer bank accounts. The program has grown to about 30 retailers, and the payment provider hopes to have another 30 retailers by April and at least 100 retailers by the end of the year, says Samer Forzley, eBillme’s vice president of marketing.
Consumers can use the cards at such online retailers as Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Dell Inc. (3), TigerDirect.com, part of Systemax Inc. (22), and Overstock.com Inc. (28). Consumers can go to the gift card section of eBillme.com and purchase the cards for themselves or to send to friends, with payment coming out of the customer’s bank account, similar to how an online bill or utility payment is made. Cards come with a 10% discount on purchases made with the cards, up to $20.
Since early October, eBillme gift card sales have reached nearly $1.1 million, Forzley says. He anticipates sales of $20 million by year’s end. “The pilot seems to have worked, and now we are expanding,” he says. The company earns a cut of the gift card sales, and while the cut varies depending on the retailer, they run in the single-digit percentages, he adds.
Most gift card buyers use the cards for themselves instead of sending them to other consumers, he says.