A gift card is a prepaid shopping card loaded with a certain amount of money meant to make purchases at specific stores. Some people refer to a gift card as a gift voucher or gift token. Some gift cards are universal, whereby you can shop at any outlet. Banks usually issue general cards. Most reputable businesses issue reloadable gift cards with no fees. You just get it for free.
Gift cards are specifically for shopping purposes. You cannot withdraw cash using a gift card at any point, unlike ATM cards, which you can use to withdraw money at ATM points. As the name depicts, these are gifts. Employers, at times, give gift cards to their employees as a sign of appreciation of good work. Individuals also can provide gift cards to their loved ones during certain special days.
You can purchase a gift card from a bank or by using an online checking account such as PayPal. If you want to buy gift cards online with checking account, you need to have an account with either a bank or an online checking account such as PayPal, Payoneer, or WorldRemit, among others. When purchasing, you indicate the amount of money you wish to use before tapping okay button.
How did Gift Cards Come into Existence?
The idea of gift cards came about due to the brilliant ideas of Neiman Marcus. He was the first person to sell the gift cards in 1994, although they remained unpopular among the citizens until Blockbuster displayed the cards in their stores.
The idea of gift cards came about to avoid giving out large sums of money as gifts to the loved ones that could turn out insecure to them due to thefts or even misplacing the money. As time went on, the gift cards became more popular than before.
In 2001, Starbucks made lots of cash by selling reloadable gift cards. Since then, most companies have been giving out gift cards that you can use again and again.
What are the Main Uses of Gift Cards?
A gift card is specifically for shopping. As I mentioned to you before, you cannot withdraw cash using a gift card. Although the gift cards resemble a credit card, the use is limited to buying. Once you have the card, you can visit any store that accepts the type of card you have to buy anything you may wish.
At the stores, there are machines called card readers that read the card information. Deductions happen automatically when the teller instructs the computer to perform the deductions. Once the card money depletes, you can reload more. If you know how to transfer money using routing number and account number, then reloading becomes the easiest thing to do.
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What are the Characteristics of a Gift Card?
A gift card has similar characteristics to those of a debit or credit card. The main features include the following.
1) A specific number or code
The number or code identifies the card. It could be awkward if the cards did not have an identifier, as it could be challenging to reload them. A gift card may bear no name indicating the user, and thus anybody can use the card. However, it may contain a specific theme written on the sides of the card.
2) Magnetic Strip
A magnetic Strip stores data concerning the card in a way that a card reader can read the information saved here. For a card reader to read the card, you have to swipe across a magnetic reading head.
Magnetic Strip technology came into existence after some scientists in Denmark invented the technology in 1900 for recording audio. The technology also led to the invention of the magnetic tapes for recording audio and videos.
One thing you have to note is that the information stored in the magnetic Strip links with that in the merchant’s database.
A barcode is the series of parallel lines that represent certain information. Only a barcode reader can read the codes. Each barcode represents specific information on each card.
How Secure are Gift cards?
If you lose your gift card, someone else may use it since it does not directly link to you. It is just like money. If you misplace your notes, someone may collect and use them. However other security measures help to make loading secure mainly to protect the merchants from fraud.
Data stored in the gift card is usually encrypted to ensure that a standard card reader cannot read it. Again, some companies typically require you to call a specific number when reloading your card.
How many types of Gift Cards do We Have?
We have two types of gift cards. They include open-loop gift cards and closed-loop gift cards. Open-loop gift cards are mainly from banks whereby you can use them at any store to buy anything you may wish. On the other hand, closed-loop gift cards are specific to a particular merchant. You cannot use them anywhere as it is for the case of open-loop cards.
Can I use a Gift card to buy Another Gift Card?
My answer to such a question is yes. It is because there is no law restricting that. Moreover, no somber company will deny buying a gift card using another gift card since they benefit the most when people purchase at their stores.
Do Gift Cards Expire?
A gift card remains active for as long as you use it. Moreover, it remains valid for five years if it lies unused. Initially, companies used to swindle funds from customers as they used to set expiry dates. It means that they used to get large amounts of money when thousands of customers’ cards expired loaded with funds.
Moreover, once you purchase goods using a gift card, the balance remains there till next time when you decide to use them. Again, the cards are reloadable.
What should I do if my Gift Card get Lost?
If you lost your gift card, you can report to your issuer of the gift card and see if you can get a replacement. It depends on whether the terms and conditions of the company allow for replacement. If they replace, you will need to have the card number or the receipt you used to purchase the card.
Moreover, you will need to understand a few things, such as keeping information concerning your documents in a consolidated account such as Google Drive or any other cloud storage account. Take pictures and upload them there for reference.
Which are The 9 Reloadable Gift Cards with No Fees?
I have compiled detailed information about nine gift cards in the market, which you can reload and reuse with no charges. They include the following.
1. iTunes Gift Card
iTunes gift card is a pre-purchased credit card for Apple’s iTunes store. Using the gift card, you can purchase music, movies, and apps. It is precisely for apple users whereby you can benefit from the gift card if you use an Apple smartphone, tablet, or computer.
You should note that it is not the same as the Apple store where you can buy electronics such as phones and tablets. It is specifically for software purchases. You can get it at iTunes gift card.
2. Walmart Gift Card
Walmart is an online store that sells a variety of items ranging from electronics, groceries, furniture, fashion, and so on. The company has gift cards to its customers who generally come with discounts when you purchase using them at their stores. You can buy the gift cards from any of their outlets.
Walmart gift card has no expiry date nor dormancy fee. You can use it at any time you feel like purchasing something. However, if the gift card stays for more than five years, it can expire. You can get a Walmart Gift Card.
3. Starbucks Gift Card
A Starbucks gift card is good to use at any outlet that supports their gift cards. You can spend the gift card on anything within the limit of your loaded money. Upon applying for the card, you choose how you want it to appear.
You should follow the following steps.
- Choose an eGift design you wish to have,
- Add your own unique personal message,
- Include the amount you’d like to load on the card, and
- Enter an email address and send it. Now you are good to go!
See details at Starbucks Gift Card.
4. Amazon Gift Card
Amazon is a giant online retailer based in the US. The company has gained a lot of popularity both in USA and international markets at large. The company allows you to give someone a gift card. You only need to register with them for one.
You should use Amazon gift cards s at Amazon shops only. The good thing is, the card balance does not expire. As a beneficiary, you can use the card balance for your next purchase. Again, the Amazon gift cards has no refund. Once loaded, you can only buy items of your wish.
5. Target Gift card
Target gift cards are free of charge. You do not pay anything to get the gift card. Upon receiving one, you can use it to purchase goods from Target stores or at target.com only. You cannot use it to buy items at Amazon, Walmart, or at any other store.
Target gift cards include Go Play Golf Gift Card, Subway Gift Card, Disneyland Resort 3-Day Park Hopper Ticket Ages 3-9 at $254, Lunar New Year Target GiftCard, Joy Kids GiftCard, and Penguin with Bear GiftCard among others.
6. Best Buy Gift Card
Best buy has gift cards that you can use to buy various items for your use. Most common Best Buy gift cards include Nintendo – Switch Online 12 Month Membership Card, Roblox – $10 Game Card – Red, Roblox – $25 Game Card – Red, SiriusXM – $30 Prepaid Service Card for Sirius and XM Satellite Radio – Multi, Riot – League of Legends $50 Game Card – Mac|Windows, and Sony – $10 PlayStation Network Cards (3-Pack) – Blue, among others.
Best Buy have eGift cards and Corporate Gift Cards. The eGift cards reach recipients via email within minutes. Corporate Gift Cards are for businesses, whether large or small, and they give specific discounts when purchasing items. Visit Best Buy website to get your favorite gift card for your loved one.
7. Sephora Gift Cards
Sephora Gift Cards are available at any Sephora outlets in Canada and the United States of America. You can also get a gift from any Sephora authorized vendor. Sephora gives all kinds of gift cards, whether for Christmas, birthday, weddings, and so on. They have eGift gift cards, corporate cards, and classic gift cards.
Some standard classic gift cards include SEPHORA Collection Happy Birthday Gift Card TYPE: $50, and SEPHORA COLLECTION gift card at $50. See more details for Sephora Gift Cards.
8. Fandango Gift Cards
Fandango is an American company that sells movie tickets through their websites or their mobile application. The owners of Fandango are Comcast and AT&T, which are both mobile Communication companies.
Fandango also gives gift cards to willing customers so that you can pay for your favorite movie. Using the gift card, you can pay to watch movies and TV shows online. See details of Fandango gift cards here.
9. Chipotle Gift Cards
Chipotle Gift Cards are easy to use since you can check balance, reload, and use them online. You can get a Chipotle eGift card via an email address within a short time. You can purchase a gift card using a checking account, such as PayPal.
Chipotle Gift Cards are useful at Chipotle stores or for Online Chipotle services at www.chipotle.com so long as your card has enough money for the product you wish to buy.
Gift cards are good to give to your loved ones more so during special occasions such as birthdays, graduations or Christmas occasions. Having a gift card that is easy to load online is the best thing you can have. Again, open-loop gift cards are the best since you have no restrictions from buying from a specific shop.