GET A BETTER RATES FOR YOUR GIFT CARDS AND MAKE MORE PROFITS.

GET A BETTER RATES FOR YOUR GIFT CARDS AND MAKE MORE PROFITS.

 

A gift card, also known as a

gift certificate in North America, or gift voucher or gift token in the UK,[1] is a prepaid stored-value money card, usually issued by a retailer or bank, to be used as an alternative to cash for purchases within a particular store or related businesses. Gift cards are also given out by employers or organizations as rewards or gifts. They may also be distributed by retailers and marketers as part of a promotion strategy, to entice the recipient to come in or return to the store, and at times such cards are called cash cards. Gift cards are generally redeemable only for purchases at the relevant retail premises and cannot be cashed out, and in some situations may be subject to an expiry date or fees. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa offer generic gift cards which need not be redeemed at particular stores, and which are widely used for cashback marketing strategies. A feature of these cards is that they are generally anonymous and are disposed of when the stored value on a card is exhausted.

 

From the purchaser’s point of view, a gift card is a gift, given in place of an object which the recipient may not need, when the giving of cash as a present may be regarded as socially inappropriate. In the United States, gift cards are highly popular, ranking in 2006 as the second-most given gift by consumers, the most-wanted gift by women, and the third-most wanted by males.[2] Gift cards have become increasingly popular as they relieve the donor of selecting a specific gift.[3] In 2012, nearly 50% of all US consumers claimed to have purchased a gift card as a present during the holiday season.[4] In Canada, $1.8 billion was spent on gift cards, and in the UK it is estimated to have reached £3 billion in 2009,[5] whereas in the United States about US$80 billion was paid for gift cards in 2006.[6][7] The recipient of a gift card can use it at their discretion within the restrictions set by the issue, for example as to validity period and businesses that accept a particular card.

Gift card sales are not limited to banks or retailers; such other companies as airlines, cruise ships, hotels, barber shops, train companies, theme parks, restaurants and other type of companies may offer gift cards as well.

 

A gift card may resemble a credit card or display a specific theme on a plastic card the size of a credit card.

The card is identified by a specific number or code, not usually with an individual name, and thus could be used by anybody. They are backed by an on-line electronic system for authorization. Some gift cards can be reloaded by payment and can be used thus multiple times.

Cards may have a serial number, barcode, magnetic strip, which is read by an electronic credit card machine. Many cards have no value until they are sold, at which time the cashier enters the amount which the customer wishes to put on the card. This amount is rarely stored on the card but is instead noted in the merchant’s database, which is cross linked to the card ID. Gift cards thus are generally not stored-value cards as used in many public transport systems or library photocopiers, where a simplified system with no network stores the value only on the card itself. To thwart counterfeiting, the data is encrypted. The magnetic strip is also often placed differently than on credit cards, so they cannot be read or written with standard equipment. Other gift cards may have a set value and need to be activated by calling a specific phone number.

Gift cards can also be individually custom tailored to meet specific needs. By adding a custom message or name on the front of the card, it can make for an individualized gift or be used as a gesture of appreciation towards an employee.

Gift cards are divided into open loop or network cards and closed loop cards. The former are issued by banks or credit card companies and can be redeemed by different merchants, the latter by a specific store or restaurant and can be only redeemed by the issuing provider. The latter, however, tend to have fewer problems with card value decay and fees.[10] Card value decay is less of an issue since the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was passed by the US Congress in 2009. Inactivity fees and card expirations are both limited by the new law.[11]

In either case the giver would buy the gift card and may have to pay an additional purchase or activation fee, and the recipient of the card would use the value of the card at a later transaction. A third form is the hybrid closed loop card whose issuer has bundled a number of closed loop cards; an example is free gift cards for a specific shopping mall.

Gift cards differ from scrip gift certificates, in that the latter are usually sold as a paper document with an authorized signature by a restaurant, store, or other individual establishment as a voucher for a future service; there is no electronic authorization. A gift certificate may or may not have an expiration date and generally has no administrative fees.

Bank issued gift cards may be used in lieu of checks as a way to disburse rebate funds. Some retailers use the gift card system for refunds in lieu of cash thereby assuring that the customer will spend the funds at their store.

A charity gift card allows the gift giver to make a charitable donation and the gift recipient to choose a charity that will receive the donation.

Gift cards can also be country-specific, and can be used to access USA-specific programming and media when outside the United States.



GET A BETTER RATES FOR YOUR GIFT CARDS AND MAKE MORE PROFITS.

 

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