Giftly Joins Mobile Gift Giving Movement

Mobile gift giving apps are taking all the plastic out of gift cards and all the time/effort/wrapping paper we used to put into making presents out of cash. And some are even taking cash out of the equation – I’ve blogged extensively about Wrapp, the social gift-giving app that lets you give free $5 and $10 dollar gift cards to your friends for use at popular stores like Sephora and Threadless. Mobile gift giving totally trumps traditional gift card giving; mobile celebrations are instant, social, savvy, eco-friendly and economical.

Lots of new variations on the gift giving smart phone app are popping up; recently, a San Francisco-based start-up released Giftly, a mobile gift giving app that lets you give completely personalized, customizable gift cards that recipients can use anywhere in the world. How does it work?

Giftly’s claim to fame is that it lets users get creative by customizing mobile gift cards. You can give a friend a gift card for anything, and you can be as vague or as specific as you want. While traditional gift cards bind recipients to a specific retailer or restaurant, Giftly gift cards are made specifically to be redeemed anywhere. For example, do you have a friend that’s running a marathon on her birthday? If you want to buy her a great pasta meal to celebrate, you’re not just limited to Olive Garden gift certificates; with Giftly, you can send her a gift card for whatever kind of pasta she wants, anywhere she wants to eat it. How? I’m getting to that part.

Giftly has tons gift giving inspiration with clip art to customize your gift card.

But I think it’s way cooler to take your own picture for the cover of your card. If you know me, you know I eat Nilla Wafers by the box like they’re going extinct. Here’s my dream Giftly gift card:

My gift card has a custom image, monetary value, and store location. Of course, the only thing that’s set in stone is the value – the person that receives this gift could use it to buy gummy bears at Superfresh if that’s what she’s really in the mood for.

Why? Because Giftly is essentially a money transfer. When you purchase a Giftly gift, you’ll have to cover the cost of the gift card (you determine the cost, from as low as $3), plus a $1 service charge. The real bummer is that, in order to redeem a Giftly gift card, the recipient will have to pay for the gift himself, and then Giftly will reimburse his credit card for the cost with the money you already put down. That kind of stinks.  It’s kind-of-sort-of like temporarily buying your own birthday gift. But there’s a lot to love about Giftly. Namely: Giftly gets rid of the fundamental problem everybody has with gift cards: they’re impersonal. A Giftly gift card makes it easy to show you really know the person you’re giving it to. I love that. Giftly lets you see where your friends checked-in recently, too, so you can buy them drinks without being in the same bar. Giftly is so fun, adorable, thoughtful, and innovative, that its unconventional gift-giving payment process might be easily overlooked. It’s getting great reviews in the app store and people are raving about being able to give the gift of whatever they want.