Consumers are now able to by gift cards for stock at stores operated by a select number of retailers, largely grocers.
The companies behind the cards are Stockpile, which pioneer eGift Cards for stock, and Blackhawk Network, a prepaid and payment network that will distribute the cards.
Here are the first stores to make gift cards available:
- Buehler’s Fresh Foods (all locations in Ohio)
- Giant Eagle and Market District (all locations in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana)
- Safeway (18 locations in Seattle, Wash.)
- Wegmans Food Markets (all locations in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia)
The gift card comes in fixed denominations of $25, $50 and $100. It may be redeemed for a variety of popular stocks or exchange traded funds (ETFs), such as the NASDAQ or S&P 500.
Here is the procedure for consumers:
- 1. Buy the prepaid card from a special rack at a participating retailer
- 2. Enter the claim code at stockpile.com
- 3. Sign up for an SIPC-insured brokerage account and redeem for stock or a retailer gift card
“The Gift Card for Stock can revolutionize the way people access the stock market by providing gift cards in retail locations,” said David Tate, Blackhawk Network senior vice president, products and marketing. “As we approach the holiday season, we think Gift Cards for Stock will appeal to consumers who want to give something more meaningful. This is a great gift to teach someone about investing or dip in the market for the first time.”
According to a September 2015 poll commissioned by Blackhawk, only 28 percent of American adults own stock. Blackhawk’s poll also found that 73 percent of millennials, between ages 18 to 34, do not own stock. Blackhawk attributes the barriers to participation to lack of knowledge and limited investment budget. Despite these barriers, millennials are still interested in alternative ways to invest. Finally, Blackhawk’s poll found that 54 percent of millenials would be interested in purchasing stock if it were as easy as buying a gift card in a grocery store or other retailer that could be redeemed online.