The Marketplace to Buy and Sell Gift Cards

Raise offers a peer­-to-­peer platform where consumers can sell unwanted gift cards for cash or buy discount gift cards to save on everyday essentials

More than $41 billion in gift cards went unused from 2005 to 2011, and while this number is down to an estimated $2 billion per year now, that is still quite a bit of money lying around. After the Card Act of 2009 restricted gift card usage fees and expiration dates, this loss, termed industry breakage, started to decrease, but the amount of forgotten gift cards did not. Gift cards are a form of cash, and they can be sold, traded, redeemed, or, so you choose, laid to rest in the abysmal depths of your desk drawer.

Raise.com was founded to help consumers reclaim this lost value. Development began in a Chicago apartment with CEO & Founder George Bousis using his iPhone for Internet. He was in the midst of developing a loyalty and rewards platform for his family’s grocery store business when he realized the consumers’ need for a comprehensive savings platform.

Expanding upon this concept, the focus shifted from a neighborhood brick­and­mortar store to a network with a much larger reach, the Internet. George was introduced to co­founder Brad Wasz through a family friend, and the two began building a one-­stop­shop for saving.

After successfully launching a site for both gift cards and coupons, the company realized the need to clearly define the brand’s purpose and identity: Give Yourself a Raise. The Raise philosophy embraces the idea that people don’t dream about saving money, they save money to fulfill their dreams.

The concept of a raise is a positive, uplifting way to refer to savings. Instead of giving members a discount or a coupon, our mission is to help them increase their purchase power. 

As stated by George himself, "Now more than ever, people need to get the most out of their money. Raise helps put the purchase power back into the hands of the consumer, and that’s what giving yourself a raise is all about”.

While more than $110 billion gift cards were sold in 2012, the average American family has over $300 in unused cards. These misplaced funds helped to identify the real value of the gift card industry.

February of 2013 marked the birth of Raise, the first true gift card marketplace where sellers can choose the asking price of their unwanted gift card and get cash back. This inventory is listed on the marketplace at a discount, and shoppers can buy these gift cards to save at their favorite stores and restaurants. The peer­-to-­peer platform enables members to buy and sell from one another while Raise facilitates the transaction.

Raise recently passed its one year anniversary, and for the seventh year in a row, gift cards are the number one requested item on holiday wish lists. From the perspective of both consumers and brands, a marketplace devoted exclusively to gift cards has proven to be a successful addition to the closed loop gift card industry.

Companies generally do not recognize gift card revenue until it has been redeemed, and Raise attracts buyers looking to spend the gift card’s value themselves within a much faster timeframe than the traditional post - celebration spend. Savvy shoppers can now buy those gift cards at a discount to spend less on everyday essentials, and brands can count on the revenue. And for the receivers, there’s always a chance they didn’t get the card they requested.

As a marketplace that offers the ability to both buy and sell, Raise is one of those things you didn’t even know you needed.

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