It wasn't too long ago that nearly all online payment gateways refused to return your credit card data when closing your account. It was the ultimate case of lock-in; you can change to a new merchant account and payment gateway but you'll be asking all of your customers to re-enter their credit card data. Braintree really deserves the credit as the first payment company to reject this approach. They even helped create the Credit Card Data Portability group. It was probably helped that at the time they were the new payment provider on the block seeing a lot of potential customers locked to their old providers.
At Spreedly, we've embraced the concept of card portability from the very beginning. Now we're taking it a step further. You no longer even have to ask Spreedly to get your data back. Via our API, you can securely move card data from your PCI secure Spreedly environment directly into that of a PCI compliant gateway. The caveat is that the gateway has to support the concept. You can learn more about it here in our docs.
If your preferred gateway isn't supported we'll still do a manual export upon request. However over time we expect to be continuously expanding the list of supported gateways over time. Our goal here is the ultimate flexibility and peace of mind.