DimpleDough Inc. later this year plans to go live with an application that enables retailers to streamline business-to-business prepaid gift card offerings through an automated system.

The Independence, Ohio-based card-management company developed the program as a software-as-a-service application to enable merchants already selling plastic gift cards, virtual e-cards, prepaid debit cards, incentive coupon cards, rebate rewards or loyalty cards to corporations to offer short-run custom and personalized cards in addition to standard cards. The application allows merchants to download the software on their own computers through a monthly or pay-as-you-go subscription.

DimpleDough’s technology enables retailers processing gift card orders by phone or fax manually to integrate with processing and printing partners, to centralize orders through a branded website, and to offer automated pricing, discount promotions and order information online.

“Corporate orders can have all different types of delivery methods, such as 500 cards in 500 carriers with 500 personalized messages,” Shawn Barrieau, DimpleDough CEO, tells PaymentsSource. Customization options include personalized messages on the gift card holder, cobranding the card with the customer’s company name and themed gift card holders, Barrieau says. For customized orders, the complexity makes it especially important to be able to streamline the process, he adds.

Retailers also may use the corporate card program to manage authorized users and payment terms and to deliver the cards as “virtual” products that contain only card numbers via e-mail. The technology also helps to reduce risk because in some cases “retailers send activated cards to customers that have not been paid for,” Barrieau says. “The automated software eliminates this risk because retailers can keep track of who paid when.”

Retailers pay a set-up and license fee and then a per-cost fee per card or per-transaction fee; the companies pay for the cards and for shipping, Barrieau says. The program takes about four to eight weeks to set up, depending on the complexity of the program, he adds.

Complex programs often include more payment options for companies, such as credit card payments, wire transfers and payments over the automated clearinghouse network, Barrieau explains. Moreover, retailers also may include the option for companies to pay for orders via PayPal or some other alternative payment method and, “depending on their relationship with the client, retailers also can create purchase orders,” Barrieau says.

DimpleDough’s program appears to allow retailers to “get [cards] into hands quicker while being able to handle last-minute additions to the order,” Adil Moussa, an analyst with Boston-based Aite Group LLC, tells PaymentsSource. And while corporations still are giving out gifts cards as incentives, it is too soon to tell whether an automated program will boost that market, but at least it streamlines the process, he adds.

DimpleDough is in talks with several large retailers, and the corporate card program will go live in the next few months, Barrieau says.

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