Prepaid State of Mind

What’s new with gift cards as the holiday season approaches

Sales of prepaid cards have rebounded strongly after a precipitous decline, thanks in part to retailers’ renewed emphasis on the category.

“There was a turnaround because retailers are doing more to market the cards and emphasize using gift cards,” says Ben Jackson, director of Mercator Advisory Group’s prepaid advisory service.

That effort, largely in the form of loyalty programs, has nudged consumers toward a prepaid state of mind, prompting them to reload cards they use at places like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway while also convincing them to buy additional cards for gifts.