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Location-based gifts, oh my!

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Location-based gifting is where it's at this season, whether you're giving or receiving.

Send a personalized virtual gift card that unlocks when the recipient is at the store through the new phone app Clingle Gifts. Or, get a $10 statement credit from American Express via Foursquare.

The former, Clingle Gifts, allows consumers to dress up generic virtual gift cards with a personal video, photo, text or audio message and send it to loved ones from their phones. Recipients who are already signed up on Clingle will get their gift card on their phone when they walk into the retailer.

For those recipients who aren't on Clingle, they will receive an email, text or Facebook posting alerting them to their Clingle gift.

Clingle has partnered with more than 40 retailers such as Zappos, Barnes & Noble, SpaFinder and Travelocity.

The new app underscores a growing trend of e-gift cards. Bankrate's 2011 Gift Card Survey found that six retailers and American Express added virtual gift cards to their selections. And a handful went further and added a mobile phone or Facebook component to their gift cards.

And speaking of American Express, the credit card issuer is basically giving away $10 to its cardholders via location-based network Foursquare when they shop at certain stores.

Cardholders who have linked their accounts to their Foursquare profiles will receive a one-time $10 statement credit when they spend $10 at participating small businesses. No coupons. No special codes or mobile devices needed. The discount just shows up because you "checked in."

The new program is an extension of American Express' existing partnership with Foursquare that started this summer. The companies in June unveiled mobile discounts for cardholders.

Would you send a location-based gift card?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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