Cards for Confidence: How the CARD act affects online shoppers

The recent enforcement of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act means more than a few raised restrictions on prepaid cards. For a new wave of shoppers, it means renewed confidence in one of today’s fastest growing currencies.

Previously, a lack of uniform regulation meant that purchasing gift cards was often a risky business. Exploitative expiration dates and penalties for each month of non-use made each gift cards a hot potato: spend as soon as possible, or face the consequences.

But now, a nation with wallets full of prepaid store cards can breathe a little easier. Under the watchful eye of the Federal Reserve Board, merchants are required by law not only to suspend exploitative fees, but also to notify consumers if they plan to increase any rates – giving the shopper the option to cancel their cards before the rates come into effect.

In practical terms, this removes one of the last obstacles to a growing community of card-carrying shoppers who have adopted prepaid cards as a new currency. This new breed has a keen eye – they’re selective and discriminating buyers who are willing to invest the time to reap savings on everyday items. No longer just a holiday gift or graduation present, the prepaid card is stepping in to fill the (generation) gap left wide open between e-tail savvy mavens and newspaper coupon clipping traditionalists.

The enforcement of the CARD act, and its provision for prepaid cards, smooth the way for the adoption of gift cards to rise even higher – and for the Wild West approach to penalizing shoppers to come to an end. Already, shoppers are voting for the convenience and forward planning of gift cards to their favorite stores, with a recent survey1, showing that prepaid cards to favorite stores are the most-wanted gifts for women and the third most desired gift by men in the US.

At Biddees, we strive to give the appeal of prepaid cards convenience an extra kick by providing gift cards at a guaranteed discount. Our shoppers tell us that they want credit to stores already in their daily or weekly shopping routine at below face value, and we provide just that – with the added knowledge that a microdonation to your favorite charity is included in the price at no additional cost to you. Since the CARD act came into effect, we are happy to see the growing confidence in our shoppers and beyond. A weight has been lifted, and we look forward to watching the growing prepaid card market grow without check.

In the classic David vs Goliath fight, it seems as if the shopper may have finally triumphed over the credit giants – but with the combined power of consumers in this fragile economy, it begs the question: Who really was the Goliath in this fight?

This is a guest article by Steve Adler, CEO of Biddees, the first company to offer guaranteed savings on new, brand-name store cards while donating to each online shopper’s favorite nonprofit organization. Steve is also the founder of Shoes.com, which he sold two years ago, and of national retail outlet The Walking Company.

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