Imagine this: It's a special occasion, and you're given a gift card to celebrate. You put it in your wallet, amongst other cards and coupons, then forget it's there. Or, you can't remember how much money is still on it – was it three dollars or three cents? – and eventually, it goes in the trash.
Jason Wolfe, CEO of Green Tree-based GiftYa, said his company has a better way. Instead of giving a physical gift card, a person can give you store credit that's linked to your Visa or Mastercard. Once you use your credit card at that store or restaurant, the credit you were gifted is used to pay for the transaction.
"You can get them a gift credit for the pizza shop [down] the street or coffee shop at the corner, it really doesn't matter," Wolfe said. "We have two million merchants inside our database that you can search from."
The company officially launched in December, and is currently operating in beta mode gathering data from local users. In July, commercials will start running in local movie theaters. Once enough users have signed up and enough data has been collected, Wolfe said the plan is to expand nationwide.
"I don't think gift cards are going to go away, I think this is just a different form," Wolfe said. "I'm hopeful that people, especially the milenials, will see this as a better solution than Grandpa's gift card."
The GiftYa app is available in the Apple and Google app stores.