PayPal’s new digital holiday gift cards make sending money more personal

amazon paypal news office
Ken Wolter
Giving holiday cards with a few bucks hidden in their folds is a well-established tradition, but one that tends to translate poorly online. Beaming beer money to cousin Jimmy’s digital wallet isn’t nearly as personal as giving the Benjamin to said relative in a card and in person. It’s the equivalent of forking over a fistful of dollars — a gesture that, while usually appreciated, isn’t exactly the most thoughtful.

But PayPal has an potential solution: S “first-of-its-kind” partnership aimed at making sending money over the internet a more heartfelt action. The payment firm has enlisted the services of Jonathan Adler, a New York-based artist who has designed homes, hotels, and restaurants, to create digital holiday gift cards PayPal customers can use to personalize their monetary shows of appreciation.

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“With more people asking for gifts — and giving money — via P2P (person-to-person) payments this holiday season, we needed to find a way to make it personal,” Patrick Adams, chief marketing officer of PayPal North America, told Digital Trends “Our partnership with Jonathan is unlike anything we’ve ever done, and helps consumers stress less.”

The digital holiday gift cards — six in total — feature iconography appropriate for friends of multiple denominations. There’s a “Hanukkah” design for Jewish friends and relations, a “Joy to the World” option, and ever-so-slightly more agnostic “Merry to the Max” and “Glamorous Greetings” cards. The collection also includes generic cards for gift-giving, plus thank you cards, with “more to come.”

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Designing a card’s a cinch. Once you’ve logged into PayPal’s website, click the Send Money button, and you’ll see an option to pick a card design and designate the amount of the gift. Once you’ve finalized your gift, hit the “send” button and PayPal will take care of the rest.

Adler, a ceramic artist who launched his first collection in 1993 at Barneys New York, has products in 30 eponymous stores andmore than 1,000 retailers worldwide. He’s credited with designing the Parker Palm Springs Hotel, the Merv Griffin’s Resort and Givenchy Spa property in Palm Springs, California, and operates a boutique in New York City’s SoHo district.

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“Fact: Money makes the world go around, which kind of makes it the perfect present.” Adler said. “It’s a gift people are as excited to receive as they are to spend.”

A recent PayPal study underlined the point: Money is the No. 1 gift Americans want this holiday season, PayPal said, and a whopping 62 percent wish they could ask for cash instead of traditional holiday presents. Despite that sentiment, though, many respondents — 63 percent — said they don’t give money as a gift themselves because they’re “afraid it’s not personal” enough.

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“Sending money digitally as a gift never felt truly personal or stylish — until now,” Adler said. “With PayPal, we have created something that, with just a few clicks, lets you send money easily and chicly.”

PayPal’s digital card feature will be available in 17 countries, including the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria. PayPal said customers outside the U.S. and Canada will see alternative card designs created “specifically for their markets.”

PayPal expects the new feature will contribute significantly to the more than 17 million peer-to-peer payments it expects to see in December. “[Adler’s] unique holiday card designs make sending money easy and fashionable — something that gift cards and traditional holiday cards simply don’t provide,” Adams said.

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