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eBay Sells Gift Cards for Gifting Company Stock

Offering gift cards is nothing new for eBay, but on Monday it began carrying a very different type of gift card – one that allows recipients to purchase shares of stock in publicly-traded companies.

“eBay and Stockpile have teamed up to make it easier than ever to access the US stock market,” according to the announcement. “With the launch of Stockpile gift cards on eBay’s US marketplace, eBay becomes one of the first ecommerce companies to offer this new category of digital gift cards for stock.”

eBay has launched a new wine category and live-auctions in recent years, and eBay CEO Devin Wenig has been hinting that new categories were coming. But as with other new categories, don’t expect to be able to sell the items yourself.

In fact, to be clear, no one is selling actual shares of stock on eBay. Rather, PayPal Digital Gifts is selling Stockpile gift cards on the marketplace – and shoppers go to the Stockpile site to consummate the trade.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore pointed EcommerceBytes to the eBay Gift Card policy. “We allow PayPal to sell third party retailers’ electronically delivered gift cards on eBay. Because we believe that PayPal’s digital platform allows buyers to purchase these items on eBay in the most risk-free way, PayPal is currently the only entity allowed to sell electronically-delivered gift cards on eBay.”

Shoppers who purchase them pay more than the value of the card. Currently PayPal Digital Gifts is selling a $25 gift card delivered via email for $29.95 and a $50 gift card for $56.95.

The description explains, “If you redeem a $50 gift card and the stock price is $100 when you redeem, you’ll get half a share of stock.”

General Manager for Gift Cards at eBay Wafa Dahel said Monday, “We’re proud to be one of the first ecommerce companies in the nation to offer gift cards for stock, a new category for eBay. This innovative and unique gifting idea of stock speaks volume to what eBay is about – smart, fun and engaging with our customers.”

eBay sent a marketing email to users on its mailing list on Monday with the subject line, “Want a gift that’s truly unique? Stock up!” Inside, the email said, “Get them a gift card to buy company shares. Treat them to the brands they love.”

Information on eBay advises shoppers to 1, “Purchase a stockpile gift card on eBay,” and 2, “Choose your stock and sign up within minutes on Stockpile.com. You can sell your stock or buy more for just 99 cents and track your stock on the Stockpile app.”

A newspaper for investors wrote about Stockpile in April. “Opening a traditional brokerage is expensive and tedious,”Investors Business Daily wrote. It went on to highlight the fact that many adults were giving them as gifts to children.

eBay wrote, “This will be the most unique gift you have ever given and will surely be appreciated by the recipient for years to come!”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.