Plastic Gift Cards Celebrate 18th Anniversary

SSI Technologies is celebrating its 18th year of manufacturing plastic Gift Cards, since inventing the first card for the industry in 1995.

Historical problems with paper gift certificates led to the invention of the Gift Cards. The electronic Gift Card was a product designed to eliminate the lack of accounting with the paper gift certificate. Gift certificates did not offer a debit mechanism but usually required cash balances returned to the holder. Fraud was commonplace as well.

Utilizing magnetic stripe technology, the plastic Gift Cards allowed tracking and debiting of cash unlike the outdated paper certificates. The first Gift Cards allowed debiting of the cards in multiple locations with control of the transaction, a technology still in place today.

Ron Goade, President of SSI Technologies, is celebrating his 40th year in the plastic card industry. He stated, “The seemingly simple Gift Card was produced for Blockbuster in 1995. We produced a small sampling for the stores in Salt Lake City. They flew off the shelves and the market was born. The initial order for all the Blockbuster stores was in the millions.”

The Gift Card market is expected to record another record year of revenue in 2010 with sales in the billions.