Managing Gift Card Balances – Help Has Finally Arrived!

Tango Card, Inc.It’s likely that everyone reading this article owns multiple gift cards or at the very least knows someone that does. Gift Cards were the most requested gift of 2009 and approximately 60% of adults purchased gift cards in 2009 – this compared with only 15% in 2005! A problem every gift card owner faces is this: how to easily track and check your gift card balance. This article by the Founder of explains how.

Over the past two years, literally dozens of sites have popped up allowing consumers to auction (eBay) or sell (Craig’s List, Kobie, giftcardbuyback, giftcardrescue, plasticjungle, etc…) gift cards they do not want. What is less clear are the services and support for those consumers that want to ensure they use all of the value on their cards.

The team at TangoCard, Inc. conducted a large number of focus group interviews in late 2008 in an effort to understand why people like gift cards, the benefits and downsides of gift cards, why value is often lost on prepaid gift cards, and what could make gift cards better for them. For this article, there were two interesting and relevant findings. First, 87% of people that have gift cards actually want to use the gift cards they have. Second, almost three-quarters of people that ultimately lose the value (or don’t use the value) on their gift cards said they did not use value because they either forgot about their cards or simply could not find them!

Manage Gift Card Balance

So, that’s the bad news. The good news is this problem can be solved. The best solution seems to depend upon two key variables – (1) how many gift cards you have and (2) whether you want help managing your gift cards. Before diving into the analysis, let me share the conclusion. If you have a single gift card, perhaps a coffee or gas card, the best solution is to register your card with the retailer. If you have multiple gift cards from multiple retailers, the best solution is Tango Card – a free service that helps you proactively manage and use gift cards from multiple retailers. Tango Card is the first company whose primary focus is helping people use the value on their gift cards.

Now, onto the picture and the analysis.

Managing Your Gift Card Balance

Single Card owners

If you have one gift card – or even multiple gift cards – from a single retailer, you can always keep your card in your wallet or purse. You always have your card with you, it’s convenient, and it takes no time. For some stores, you can now register your card. This provides some protection in case you lose your card. Some stores will even provide you with incentives for registering your cards. Starbucks, for example, provides free coffee refills and other perks including a free birthday drink. These benefits are a bit unusual, but highlight the potential benefit of registering cards with retailers. You could take this further by downloading mobile applications if you also want to make sure you have your information on your phone. So, register your card with the retailer AS LONG AS there is some tangible benefit for doing so.

Multiple Card owners

If you have multiple cards, it can be very time consuming to register each card. Additionally, the features offered by each retailer will be different, and managing each account may ultimately cost more in time and energy than you care to invest. Worse, you may start receiving lots of promotional email you neither wanted nor needed. This is why Tango Card is the best solution. Tango Card provides a simple platform where you can register and manage all of your gift cards. The company has a web site and an iPhone application – both can be accessed with a single set of credentials. Registration is free, takes less than one minute, and then can be used to manage all of your cards. Among other things, Tango Card provides automated balance updates for dozens (not all) of retailers, provides a quarterly email reminding you of your cards, and provides what many of our customers call the “kick-in-the-pants” they need to use their card’s value. So, if you have multiple cards and need some help managing and using their balances, check out Tango Card at

This is a Guest Post by David Leeds, CEO and Founder of Tango Card™, the first company whose primary focus is helping consumers use all of the value on their gift cards. More broadly, the company makes gift cards more valuable to both consumers and merchants through unique technology and service solutions. Tango Card’s services are delivered in a strong Brand environment. David is the Founder and CEO of Tango Card. He is a serial entrepreneur and has started new companies in consulting, telecommunications, and now the Gift Card industry. David’s companies are generally technology and infrastructure providers. David is also a regular guest speaker in entrepreneurship and leadership class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. David lives in Seattle with his wife and two boys.

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