US-based online and mobile gifting company eGifter has announced its expansion into the European market.
Notably, the move coincides with a similar announcement last week by UK-based Pockio and sees both companies offering their services in the UK, France and Germany. Both companies have also aired plans to enter other markets in the very near future.
's co-founder and CEO, Tyler Roye, told CoinDesk:
The company allows gift cards to be purchased with cryptocurrency or standard payment methods, which can then be redeemed on the appropriate retailer's website. Effectively, as well as providing gifting services, the service lets bitcoin holders shop with retailers that do not yet accept digital currencies.
While Pockio offers customers the chance to pay for gift cards in any of 15 cryptocurrencies, eGifter currently accepts bitcoin, litecoin and dogecoin in the US, and just bitcoin internationally. The firm also accepts PayPal and credit cards, and plans to add additional payment options in Q1 2015 for both US and international markets.
The initial phase of expansion sees Amazon.fr, Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk as the company's sole EU offerings.
The company finds itself in a position of playing catch-up, however. Pockio currently offers 177 retailers for shoppers in the UK, including Ryanair, Marks & Spencer and Spotify, with fewer options for its French and German users.
Roye indicated his company's advantages will still appeal to consumers, however, saying:
Additionally, eGifter's mobile apps are integrated with popular digital wallets such as Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet and, soon, Google Wallet, he pointed out.
Doing things 'by the book'
Roye also indicated that eGifter connects to each brand either directly or via their processor and pulls digital gift cards in real-time. This enables the firm to offer variable-denomination cards that can be purchased in "one-penny" increments, meaning consumers can buy a gift card on their mobile phone for the exact amount of their purchase, and use it at the point of sale.
"We take the time to become an authorized reseller; doing things 'by the book' with the brands [to protect] our customers," he said.
In the US, the firm continues to include new retailers in its marketplace, recently adding Best Buy, Whole Foods, TJ Maxx and others.
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