A gift card is an electronic equivalent of a voucher (retail certificate). It provides its owner (user) the possibility of redeeming it in an outlet, both real and virtual, of a given Issuer, up to the value allocated to the card.
Typically, a gift card is offered to customers as a gift package that can consist of an elegant case with a plastic card, a plastic card attached to a letter carrier inserted into an addressed envelope or any other printing solution prepared in accordance with your wish.
A gift card may be of single or multiple use, i.e. it may possess the functionality of a typical paper voucher, however, the advantage of this type of gift lies in the fact that it may be used several times up to the value of its balance.
A gift card may have a pre-determined value or it may be topped up with any amount. Frequently, one may come across gift cards that contain their value already in the graphic design of the obverse. Some issuers place the value on the cards carrier, as well. In case of issuers offering luxury goods they resign from cards marked in that way.
Recently, gift cards without specified face value and offering the possibility of topping up with any amount enabled the Issuers one very important function expected by Issuers, i.e. the return of goods. The compensation of the value for the product that has been returned takes place by topping up the gift card to the amount equal to the value of the returned goods.
A gift card can have any configured time of validity. For the purpose of the final settlement of its balance, it is highly recommended for a gift card to have a limited validity period. Although Polish Customers are used to gift cards with the validity period of 12 months, there is a growing tendency among Issuers to release cards that are valid from three months to even three years.
A gift card allows for processing of an unlimited number of transactions. As regards the administration of gift cards the following procedures can take place: card activation, annulment and topping up, making a payment, checking the card status and balance, checking the status of and cancelling a transaction. The GiftPlus system enables the deactivation of some procedures – no possibility of topping up the card or no extension of its validity period – in order to adjust the handling of the cards to the business objectives of the Issuer.
A gift card may be protected with an additional PIN code. The traditional chains increasingly conduct their sales through the Internet as well, offering various facilities that are available in normal shops. With growing tendency, an Issuer’s gift cards are accepted in its Internet shop as another form of payment. In order to protect the amount on the card accepted in the Internet shop, an additional four-digit PIN code, unknown to the seller when the card is sold, is placed on the card’s reverse under a scratch stripe.