Cardii Is Turning Gift Cards into a Heightened Experience

Courtesy of Cardii

If you opened your wallet right now, how many unused gift cards from years past would be looking back at you? Wasted mementos from birthdays long forgotten haunting you forever. Until now. Welcome, Cardii: a new way to give gift cards that uses zero plastic and personalizes the deal with the help of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). A present from Cardii is like a digital gift card on steroids (or maybe something a little more hallucinogenic) where the gift recipient is inside of the experience.

Cardii CEO and founder Du Nguyen envisioned the idea after one of his son’s birthday parties — when they went to put his gifts away, Nguyen discovered a shoebox full of unused gift cards, just sitting there. He had his eureka moment and realized “there has to be a better way.”

A few years later the better way has come to life. When you receive a gift card through Cardii, you are immediately part of a special event. With AR, your phone screen becomes an interactive game, letting you pop balloons, beat a piñata, place a cake down on your dining table. Then, the gift, personalized note and photo appear in celebration, usually surrounded by falling confetti.

“On average people are in the experiences for about 95 seconds,” Nguyen says. “In the world of TikTok and Instagram, 95 seconds is a long time to have engagement.”

“That’s where Cardii has a chance to change the game on engagement,” says Cardii’s acting CMO, Karen Steele. “People want to be spoken to in a personalized way that’s meaningful to them.”

By utilizing AI, Cardii can help you write more personalized notes to the recipient and even add photos. Notably, if you receive a gift card for a place you don’t shop at, you can swap the amount for use at any of the other stores Cardii partners with, which include Starbucks, Amazon, Nike and Home Depot.

“We believe that by creating better experiences there is going to be a shift in usage to experiences that are digitally tangible,” says Nguyen, explaining that the oxymoron of “digitally tangible” is possible with AR, where the laws of physics do not apply.

This, of course, also solves a huge plastic waste problem in the industry: gift cards through Cardii are stored in the cloud and in the Cardii app.

With the holiday season afoot, Cardii is here to be the sustainable gift with 100 percent more personality than a plastic card and it is sure to keep the relatives entertained — at least for 95 seconds.