Ernex, one of Canada's leading providers of real-time loyalty and gift card programs, today launched a new Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) feature designed to eliminate the manual reconciliation process for merchant gift card programs.
Ernex's EFT gives merchants operating a stored value gift card program the freedom of an automated fund settlement option that will reduce administrative overhead, collection, and payment hassles for corporate head offices operating franchise locations.
With Ernex's Electronic Funds Transfer, merchants operating a gift card program can now transfer funds into or out of a shared bank account managed by a corporate head office or collective of merchants. The head office can also easily debit or credit merchant accounts, in essence paying the locations for the value of gift cards redeemed at that location.
"Franchised environments are often plagued by paperwork and complex, cumbersome methods of transferring funds between owners," said Malcolm Fowler, Vice President & General Manager, Ernex. "Ernex's role in the process, beyond supplying merchants with their gift card program, is to track where a gift card is both sold and redeemed and then settle the funds between merchants.
The faster and more accurately franchises can balance their books when it comes to the big business of gift cards, the better."
Gift cards have become a hugely popular merchandising item for retailers.
A recent Statistics Canada survey of 80 national retailers representing 11,000 stores found slightly more than 50 per cent of the stores offered gift cards in December 2003. By December 2004, the number of stores offering gift cards had jumped to 68 per cent.
"The beauty of a gift card program for consumers, especially when there are franchises or groups of retailers involved, is that they can use the gift card at multiple locations," said Fowler. "But that benefit for consumers shouldn't cause headaches for the franchisees. We believe that if we're going to offer a gift card service to merchants, we're also responsible for making the back-office processing as simple and hassle-free as possible."