Our Story

Growing up, my grandma had a gift closet full of greeting cards, wrapping paper, and last-minute gifts that she could pull out in a hurry if a birthday or other celebration caught her by surprise. Some presents had been purchased specifically to be used in an emergency situation. Others had been repurposed from gifts she had received. I had completely forgotten about my grandma’s gift closet until my 10-year-old son told us he needed a birthday present just minutes before we had to leave for the party.

We don’t have a gift closet. But apparently my wife, DeeDee, has a gift card drawer just in case she needs to have gift for someone under the wire.

DeeDee ran to the drawer and rifled through a stack of about 15 gift cards from a few different stores and restaurants. Some gift cards had a $5 balance (too little), some had higher values but were to retailers a kid wouldn’t visit (too obviously regifted), and almost all of them had post-it notes or Sharpie-written balances on the cards themselves (too embarrassing).

Thankfully, she found one GameStop gift card for $25 that did not look like it had been previously owned or stored in a kitchen drawer for who knows how long. DeeDee grabbed the gift card, ran to find a gift bag (that’s a different stash at our house), and handed the birthday present to my son as though we had planned for the party all along.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a stash of gift cards for last-minute gifts?

Last-Minute Gift Card Crisis at the Office

Weeks later, in preparation for a sales meeting, one of the Vice Presidents announced that he needed gift cards to reward the sales staff for hitting their goals. Having failed to order gift cards in advance, we ran to one of the executive administrators on the floor to see if she had a stash of gift cards available.

The same scenario played out.

Yes, she had a stash of gift cards, but the destinations and dollar amounts were inappropriate for the occasion. Unable to find what we needed, she ran to the grocery store to buy a bunch of gift cards to various stores and restaurants in the denominations requested while the rest of us returned to the meeting.

At the close of the conference, we gave her five unused gift cards to put back into her gift card stash. That’s five, fully-activated gift cards, stored insecurely in an unlocked desk, among a few hundred dollars’ worth of others.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the gift cards you need when you need them?

The Genesis of CardNow

These real-life experiences and several others like them inspired the recently launched business called CardNow.

Having worked in the gift card industry for years, my partners and I had each experienced a last-minute gift card crisis, we knew that people buy (or keep) gift cards in an emergency stash, and that the stash is often unsecure. Additionally, pre-purchased gift cards don’t always fill the needs of the situation (e.g. too much money, too little money, wrong retailers) and just tie up cash that could be used elsewhere. 

Whether in a home or in the office, today’s version of my grandmother’s gift stash is inefficient, unsecure, and a waste of money.

What is CardNow?

CardNow is a stash of inactive gift cards for a select set of stores and restaurants. Each gift card in the stash can be paid for and activated on demand from our mobile app. This way, you only pay for the gift cards you need, when you need them, and for the dollar amounts you want to load onto the cards.

The CardNow kit includes a reusable box, 20 gift cards hand-picked by you, the customer, a secure log-in to the CardNow app to activate gift cards promptly as needed, and order automatic refills when your stash gets low.

CardNow saves time and money. It is not only helping busy parents to always have on-the-spot gifts for last-minute birthdays and birthday parties, CardNow is serving an easier gift and reward process for businesses big and small. It’s perfect for the small business owner who makes impromptu customer or employee rewards, the executive administrator who has to produce a birthday gift on the fly, the realtor who stockpiles Starbucks gift cards as thank you’s for referrals, as well as many other business gifting scenarios.

Automatic refills, flexible load values, no unused gift cards, and increased security make this the ideal solution for rewarding and incentives where the face-to-face reward or spot recognition is preferred. 

CardNow is launching soon to help you modernize your gifting closet or drawer, so you can #GiftBetter.