Gift cards are defined as prepaid payment cards that you can use in purchasing goods and services. According to Wikipedia, these cards are one of the many promotion strategies used by retailers and marketers to attract more customers to their store. Although you can use them to purchase certain goods and services at a specific period of time, you cannot exchange the card for cash.
However, you can present baby shower gift cards to an expecting mother or surprise your loved one with a gift card for the holidays. You can also download gift card templates or gift card designs to create mock gift cards for events or simple IOUs (if you owe someone a birthday gift).
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Getting to Know a Gift Card
There are a number of special occasions wherein you can give out gift cards. Although it may resemble like a credit card, gift cards often sport a particular theme. Let’s take for example a wedding gift card. They often feature images of a bride and groom or maybe wedding bells and doves. If you are looking to surprise your friend with a birthday gift card, on the other hand, the card often display images of a cake or balloons.
While they have cute and fun images, gift cards come with a bar code or magnetic strip. The bar code and magnetic strip carries data that are read by the electronic credit card machine. These data often describe the goods and/or services that can be redeemed or purchased by the holder. Say, if the graduation gift card entitles the holder to a $50 discount on a hotel accommodation, he or she can only enjoy a $50 discount, no more and no less, from the total amount.
Benefits of Using a Gift Card
Anyone who receives a gift can give a person a feeling of happiness. Who wouldn’t? Gift cards mean you can redeem certain goods and/or services free of fee or, at the very least, at a discounted price. Read below to know more about the benefits that come with using a gift card.
- Cost effective – As mentioned earlier, using a gift card to purchase goods is a great way to save money because you do not have to pay for the item.
- Helps you save time – Using a gift card is a perfect solution in saving time. Say, gifting expecting parents with a baby shower gift card allows them to choose certain items that is available for card redemption. Plus, they can go straight ahead to the store and purchase the items of their choice.
- Gives you control – Since gift cards contain a specific stored value, you do not need to worry on overspending.
Tips on Using the Gift Card
If you are a customer who is looking forward to using your gift card, there are certain protocols that need to be observed before you can enjoy its privileges.
- After you have downloaded or received your gift card, it is extremely important to know the terms and conditions.
- Although most gift cards do not have expiry dates, it is still a wise idea to check for expiration dates or fees.
- If you agree to its terms and conditions, register the card so that it will be ready for use.
- If you want to purchase a certain goods and/or services using a gift card, you will have to present it to the store cashier.
- The cashier will check on the validity of the gift card by pressing a certain function key on the credit card terminal and proceeds to swiping the card into the designated slot.
- The terminal will provide specific commands to the gift card’s processor’s database for redemption.
- Once authenticated and no problems arise, the processor will command the credit card terminal that the customer’s transaction is approved. If you have purchased an item that is below the stored value, the card’s value will be subtracted and the remaining value will be stored at the database.
- However, if the amount of the purchased item exceeds the stored value of the card, the credit card terminal will print the balance amount on the receipt. The customer will have to pay the balance to complete the transaction.
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How to Design a Gift Card
Gift cards are not only beneficial to customer, but also to retailers and marketers, as well. As a retailer, creating or designing gift cards for your store is one of the many ways to boost your sales by attracting new customers. This is also a perfect way to increase your brand awareness to customers who are not well-acquainted with your market.
- Make sure to come up with an interesting potential designs for your card display. The better your designs, the more customers you will attract. You can also search templates online for inspiration. If you want free download of gift card templates, just click on the link.
- Add your logo, official website, and your contact details to increase market awareness among customers. You can customize your gift card so that it can easily reflect on your brand.
- Specify the goods and/or services that can be redeemed by the card holder. You also have the choice to include boxes where the card holder can input their personal details, such as his or her name and from whom it is from.
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Different Types of Gift Cards
Now that we already know the what gift card is all about and how it function as well as designing and using a gift card to redeem an item, it’s now high time to get to know the different types of gift cards that you can use.
- E-gift card – Although this type of gift card works like a regular gift card, the recipient will receive a digital card with a code through email. Furthermore, the recipient will also receive a copy of the e-gift card as confirmation that the email was sent and received.
- Bank-issued gift card – This type of gift card can be used as a substitute for checks. It is commonly used to disburse rebate funds or refunds.
- Charity gift card – It is widely used to make a charitable donation wherein the recipient of the card can choose which charity can collect the donation.
- Printable gift card – This type of gift card can be downloaded online. After downloading, you can print the card or voucher before redeeming it. Just show the printed gift card to the cashier so that you can redeem its value.
- Plastic gift card – This is probably the most common type of gift card used. The card will be mailed to its receiver and can only be redeemed in the store specified by the card. There are also cases where you will receive a paper receipt instead of a plastic card. However, you can use it the same way as the regular plastic ones.
Which Gift Card Is Right for You
While gift cards are extremely popular to both retailers and customers, it is highly important to find the type of gift card that is right for you or your loved one. Although you can download as many gift cards as you want, you should take some time to consider whether it is what you truly need. Ponder on what interests you before you choose a gift card. Putting a lot of thought on it can help make full use of the card and avoid it from being unused and wasted.
What to Do with an Unused Gift Card
So, what if you realized that you are not sure with what to do with your gift card? Instead of letting it collect dust on the corner, there are a number of ways that you can do with unused gift cards. Below are some good ideas that can help you get started and get some value out of your unwanted cards.
- Although you cannot exchange your card with cash, why not sell it websites that buy gift cards online? Some websites will be happy to buy your gift cards at a decent price.
- Another option is to trade your gift card with your friend. If they have an item which interests you, try to offer your card in exchange of the said item.
- If one of your friends or family will be celebrating a birthday, why not give them a gift card? They will surely love it because you give them the control to choose whichever they like to buy.
- If you feel generous, donating the gift card to your favorite charity sounds like a great idea.
Gift cards will definitely remain a popular for a number of years because of their convenience and benefits. To maximize your gift card experience, it is a great idea to know what to spend on it while approaching caution when using it. In this way, you do not only enjoy the benefits, but you also protect your self from potential fraud or scam as much as possible.
We hope you learned a lot of things from us. You can also check out more free gift cards available to download on our website. Do not forget to download some of our amazing collection of gift cards that are perfect for any occasion.