What Is a Gift Card?


If you are stressing over what to buy someone for a special occasion, such as a birthday, wedding or anniversary, one of the easiest and most popular options is a gift card. Here you can find answers to some of the most common questions asked about gift cards.

What is a gift card?

A gift card is simply a small plastic card, similar to a credit card that can be used to purchase goods in specific stores or outlets. They are similar to gift vouchers but rather than having a set monetary amount these gift cards can be pre-loaded with a cash value which can be redeemed by the recipient when buying goods.

How do you buy a gift card?

Buying a gift card as a present for someone could not be easier. Most stores now have their own gift cards and you will usually find them by the checkouts. Simply ask the staff member at the checkout for a card. Another option is to purchase a gift card online. Nearly all the major retail stores now have an online website and you can find their gift cards there.

How are these cards pre-loaded with funds?

If you purchase a card at the store, the assistant will ask how much you want to put on the card, you can either pay by cash or card and the assistant will electronically input that amount on the card. If you purchase online the process will be pretty much the same. You will be asked to specify the amount you want on the card and then you simply pay that amount to the retailer.

Do the cards all look the same?

No. You will be able to choose from different designs and in most cases you will be also able to choose form a selection of a gift envelopes.

Can they cards be used in multiple stores?

There are two main types of gift cards – Open Loop and Closed Loop. An open loop card can be used in a variety of stores. The actual store locations will be specified on the gift card itself. A closed loop gift card is a card that is store specific. This type of card will bear the store brand name and will only be accepted in that store, though you will be able to use it in any of the stores countrywide locations.

If you are stuck for ideas when deciding on what to get someone the flexibility of a gift card can make it a fantastic option. A gift card is not only practical and well-received; it shows a lot more thought and friendliness than just giving cash or a cheque.