NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Next holiday shopping season, gift cards may be even easier to purchase.
Visa (Stock Quote: V) is currently testing out a pilot program that allows consumers to purchase gift cards from drive-through and walk-up ATMs.
The program, set to last through March, is being conducted in partnership with Better ATMs, which is currently selling Visa-branded gift cards at select machines belonging to three credit unions in Phoenix, Ariz.
Hyung Choi, Visa’s head of U.S. prepaid products, says that adding gift cards to ATMs “provides a new way for consumers to have access to Visa-branded prepaid options.” He cites the growing popularity of gift cards as another reason for testing out the program as consumers clamor for convenient ways to purchase alternate payment methods.
The gift cards included in the pilot program are $25 non-reloadable prepaid products that are slightly thinner than the ones you would find in stores. (As a side note, this smaller size seems to represent a pro and a con: It will make it easier to fit the cards into your wallet, but harder to disguise the fact that the gift you’re giving was purchased at a local ATM.)
Visa says the results will ultimately dictate if the offering is added at other financial institutions in wider markets. It will also influence whether reloadable prepaid products will also be made available at ATM machines.
“At this point, it hasn’t been determined,” Choi says. “But you could think about the idea that any [applicable] prepaid card can be dispensed through an ATM.”
Would you take advantage of the opportunity to purchase gift cards at your local ATM? Let us know in the comments below!