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"We are going to see more and more of these kinds of services," said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Creative Strategies, a market research firm. "But we are still in the investigative stage of all this. We have to see what works and what doesn't."
The various services are touted primarily for smartphone applications, but companies say people can also use their personal computers and tablets to access the e-receipt and other services.
Gyft focuses strictly on a platform that lets people convert the information on their plastic gift cards into an electronic format.
"A lot of consumers forget their cards, don't remember they have them -- they are sitting in the bottom of pocketbooks -- or they lose the cards," said C.J. MacDonald, co-founder and chief operating officer with Gyft. "Why not empower consumers to digitize these cards, walk into a store, and use a digital version. A huge race is on right now to digitize the world and get rid of plastic and paper."
Consumers who use Gyft can take a picture of the gift card and the bar code to digitize the information, which is uploaded to the Gyft platform. Then they can easily find the gift card info and not worry about where the plastic item is physically located. Gyft also tracks the balance on the card as it is spent down.
"People often lose paper receipts," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group. "Once you digitize these receipts, you have them for life."
Several companies are tackling the challenge of organizing paper and plastic receipts, gift cards, coupons and promotion alerts. Here are four of them:
* Ziploop: Helps people create digital records of paper receipts, gift cards, coupons and promotions that can be stored in the cloud by using a dedicated @ziploop.com email address.
* Gyft: Enables people to scan their gift cards and digitally store information and balance amounts.
* OneReceipt: Converts paper receipts into digital formats. People can scan or take pictures of their paper receipts and upload those to their @onereceipts.com email address.
* Lemon Wallet: Operates as a digital backup to your wallet, including credit card information. People can manage expenses, store receipts, track balances and cancel credit cards in the event a real wallet is lost.
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