plastic jungle

Can Plastic Jungle Create A Market Around Gift Cards?

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Plastic Jungle, a marketplace for gift cards, is hoping to shakeup the gift card market by allowing gift card owners to use certificates for a given store at another online retail establishment. Plastic Jungle lets you buy, sell and exchange gift cards online. Instead of receiving cash for your gift card, Plastic Jungle also lets you trade the value in for an Amazon gift card or give your money to charity. Users can receive cash for unwanted gift cards for up to 92% of the unused balance and buy gift cards at up to a 30% discount.

Plastic Jungle, which just raised another $7.4 million in funding, will partner with online retailers to power a payment portal in the checkout process that will allow shoppers to use a credit from a different store to make an online payment. You enter the gift card like you would a credit card based on the unique serial number and pin code that every major gift card has. Similar to its exchange on the site, Plastic Jungle will offer you up to 92% of the unused balance on the card. So if you want to use a $100 Target.com gift card at Gap.com, you’d receive $92 from Plastic Jungle to put towards your Gap.com balance.

Plastic Jungle will then transfer that $92 onto another Target.com card and re-sell the balance of the card on PlasticJungle.com. Plastic Jungle is working with both gift card processors and retailers in order to make the process be electronic and, therefore, instantaneous. And the startup will be implementing this check-out system with a major retailer that will go live with mid-summer (Plastic Jungle declined to name the retailer). And this will only be used and implemented in online transactions.

It seems like a stretch to assume that retailers would be onboard with this. Gap or Target may enjoy when nobody uses the cards though because then they get to keep the cash without handing over any goods. Helping Plastic Jungle make a more liquid market out of gift cards might not be in their best interest

But Plastic Jungle CEO Gary Briggs maintains that with more than $30 billion wasted in unspent gift cards, the ability to transfer balances will jumpstart movement of these cards and inevitably result in more e-commerce transactions and more money for retailers. The startup also just launched a partnership with Facebook, to allows users to sell unused gift cards and receive Facebook Credits.

Briggs recently told us that Plastic Jungle’s revenue is eight times more that what it was a year ago. Briggs also said that “millions” of dollars have flown through the marketplace since the company’s launch two years ago. Plastic Jungle faces competition from CardPool and others.

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