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Mobile gift cards — the “cooler, more sophisticated and smarter cousin to the gift card,” according to one expert — are simply gift cards consumers can use on their smartphones. They made a big splash in 2011, with retail giant Starbucks leading the way. However, Starbucks isn’t the only retailer letting its customers go mobile, and many, many more will likely jump on board in the near future. Why? Convenience.

“The idea of having all of your gift cards in one easy to access location is tremendously appealing to consumers. Couple that with the number of mobile smartphones on the market the number of people who are already connected to one another via their phones, there is opportunity for massive consumer adoption over the next few years,” says Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group, a payments industry consultancy in Centennial, Colo.

www.creditcards.com, October 27, 2011