Gift card apps for smart phones convenient but still lacking

Electronic only gift cards still pose a higher risk to consumers due to the increased likelihood of losing or forgetting about them, but that doesn’t mean that carrying your gift cards around in an electronic form isn’t a good idea.

When we first reported on gift card apps earlier this year, gift card apps like the one from Wildcard Networks and Tango were interesting but supported few cards.  Since then they have continued to add supported cards but still very few compared to what is out there; about 25 for Wildcard and 60 for Tango.  Additionally, these apps are iPhone only.

I still think this kind of app holds promise if it ever gets gets widespread enough.  One promising sign is similar service called CardMobili that is for loyalty cards, for instance, for airline miles.  This service has apps for all major smart phones and supports hundreds of cards.  If something like this were available for gift cards, I would say it was a no brainer.

We’ll continue to monitor this space for improvements.

The Tango Card comes with a neat feature that automatically sends you periodic updates on the balance of your cards.