SmartClixx founder and CEO Gary Dinkin announced today he has launched a new company to distribute gift cards for retailers in competition with other card distribution companies such as Blackhawk Network Inc. and InComm. The new company, called GiftClixx LLC, would allow retailers to negotiate terms and conditions for distributing and activating gift cards directly with one another, which should lead to lower costs, Dinkin tells CardLine. Card-distribution companies charge retailers a percentage of the face value of gift cards to distribute and activate them, but GiftClixx plans to charge only pennies to activate cards, Dinkin says, but he declined to disclose a specific amount. Gift Clixx also does not plan to provide displays for use in stores but will let retailers make their own decisions on how to display cards, Dinkin says. The company has begun negotiations with retailers, which Dinkin says he cannot name because of nondisclosure agreements. GiftClixx would process the card transactions, handle settlement and reconciliation, and manage the inventory, Dinkin says. He says he came up with the concept for the new company after a SmartClixx customer conference last year. Dinkin says the timing of the start-up has nothing to do with Greenwood Village, Colo.-based First Data Corp.'s April announcement that it plans to buy Atlanta-based InComm,
(CardLine, 4/28). Blackhawk, which is based in Pleasanton, Calif., is a subsidiary of grocery-store operator Safeway Inc. InComm and Blackhawk did not return calls for comment by deadline.