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Branded Gift Card Sales Predicted to Remain Steady

Survey of 1,000 consumers forecasts branded cards will remain popular, despite economic conditions

November 18, 2008 (Montvale, NJ) /PRNewswire/ — Reflecting current economic conditions and reduced spending by consumers, retailers are preparing for a holiday gift season distinguished by lower budgets and more practical gifts.

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA), a non-profit, inter-industry trade association created to advance the success of branded prepaid cards, (cards usable wherever American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa cards are accepted) recently conducted a consumer opinion survey regarding branded gift cards. The survey revealed that branded gift cards will remain popular because they are practical gifts that help consumers stay on budget and provide flexibility, security and choice for the recipient.

The survey, conducted October 22-28, 2008, with 1,000 adults found that 52 percent of Americans plan to give more practical gifts this year. Of those who had given or received a branded gift card in the past, 17 percent planned to give more branded gift cards this year and 43 percent planned to give the same number. Only 22 percent planned to give fewer branded gift cards this holiday season.

"Branded gift cards have grown in popularity over the past several years as consumers have embraced the cards as a thoughtful gift for friends and family, "said Dan Horne, Associate Professor and Gift Card Research Expert, Providence College. "While all signs point to decreased holiday spending this year, we expect to see branded gift cards sales remain steady – every penny counts and consumers want to give gifts that fit their budget and are practical and welcomed by their friends and family."

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents agreed that branded gift cards provide their family and friends flexibility in difficult economic times. The card can be used to pay for a luxury like a massage or nice dinner, or to buy necessities such as gas, groceries or school supplies.

"Branded gift cards are a great way to ensure that the recipient enjoys their gift because they can buy something special or make a purchase they have been putting off," said Juli Spottiswood, NBPCA Media and Consumer Education Working Group Co-Chair. "Consumers can shop around at any merchant to find the best price or wait for the after-Christmas sales to get great deals."

Eighty percent of survey respondents believe that branded gift cards make it easier to stick to their holiday budgets.

"Americans are on tight holiday budgets this year, but it's still possible to give thoughtful, intelligent gifts," said Talbott Roche, NBPCA Media and Consumer Working Group Co-Chair. "Branded gift cards fit the bill on all levels: practical choice for the recipient and an easy way to stay on budget for the gift-giver."

About branded gift cards

Branded gift cards are more convenient and versatile than gift certificates or store gift cards because they are accepted virtually anywhere a merchant accepts the brand logo, even online. Since they can be used at millions of locations, branded gift cards are unaffected by store closures or bankruptcies. They are also safer than cash, because the funds on registered cards can be recovered if the card is lost or stolen.

About the NBPCA

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a non-profit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards and represents the common interests of the many players in this new and rapidly growing payments category. For additional information, visit