SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ChargeSmart, an online consumer bill payment portal, and Plastic Jungle, the web’s largest secured gift card exchange, today announced a partnership to enable customers to use unredeemed gift cards to make payments on utility, car and mortgage bills. This new gift card exchange solution was officially debuted this afternoon at FinovateSpring 2011, the high-profile banking technology conference held in San Francisco, and will be available to the public within the next couple months. Customers can learn more about this offering and sign up to be notified about the launch by visiting http://chargesmart.com/giftcards.
Merchant-issued – or closed loop – gift cards now represent $90 billion of the U.S. economy, and an estimated $30 billion in gift cards are unredeemed at any given time. Plastic Jungle brings liquidity to the secondary gift card market by allowing consumers to buy gift cards at their favorite stores for savings up to 35 percent, sell unredeemed gift cards for up to 92 percent of the gift card value, or donate the value of unused cards to their favorite cause. Through ChargeSmart and Plastic Jungle, consumers will be able to apply up to 92 percent of the value of a gift card toward an outstanding bill.
“As the statistics suggest, people love to buy and receive gift cards, yet many cards are never used,” said Tim Brinkman, CEO of ChargeSmart. “ChargeSmart and Plastic Jungle ensure that customers capture value from those gift cards, even if it means redirecting their intended use toward making more practical purchases like paying their bills.”
“Utility, car and mortgage bills have to be paid, so every dollar applied from these gift cards puts real money in the pockets of our customers,” said Bruce Bower, CEO of Plastic Jungle. “Our joint solution with ChargeSmart will get gift cards out of American sock drawers and provide a valuable, seamless and instant way to reduce these non-discretionary expenses.”
About Plastic Jungle
Plastic Jungle (http://www.plasticjungle.com) is the web's largest secured gift card exchange, giving consumers the choice and flexibility to convert their gift cards into other forms of spending power -- including cash, online balances to use for purchases at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal, Facebook Credits, and more -- and to stretch their shopping dollars at their favorite merchants. Plastic Jungle’s patent-pending marketplace and payment applications aim to safely unlock the estimated $30 billion in unredeemed gift cards trapped in the economy for the benefit of consumers and merchants alike. Based in San Jose, California, the company is privately held, with venture backing from Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures, First Round Capital, Bay Partners, Harrison Metal and Western Technology Investment.
Founded in 2008, San Francisco-based ChargeSmart is an online consumer bill payment portal, providing consumers a secure, convenient way to fund their bill payments using Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Once a consumer submits a payment, the funds are typically deposited into the company’s bank account within one to two business days. More than 300,000 consumers nationwide currently use ChargeSmart to facilitate card payments to their utilities, auto finance, student loan and mortgage companies, among others. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.chargesmart.com/.