Beyond the Size

Get More with Gift Cards: Understanding Options and Financial Aspects

Gift Cards and Alternatives: Understanding Your Options for Easy Gifting

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to show someone you care, gift cards are a popular option. These prepaid debit cards, loaded with a set amount of money, offer a wealth of advantages over traditional gift-giving methods.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what gift cards are and how they work, explore some alternatives to traditional gift cards, and provide some useful tips to ensure you get the most out of your next gifting Gift Cards

A gift card is a prepaid debit card that is loaded with a set amount of money. They are a convenient alternative to cash and traditional gift-giving methods, as they can be used to purchase goods without requiring the buyer to carry cash.

They are also a great way to give someone free money, as the recipient can choose what they want to spend it on.

One of the main advantages of gift cards is that they are swipe-able, which means that the cardholder can simply swipe their card at a checkout to complete a purchase.

This eliminates the need to fumble with cash or deal with complicated payment methods. Gift cards can be used just like any other debit card at a variety of retailers, restaurants, and other businesses.

Use of Gift Cards

Gift cards are a popular choice for holiday and birthday gifts, as they offer an easy way to show someone you care. They also make excellent employee rewards or incentives, as they can be given to employees in lieu of cash bonuses or other types of compensation.

Another use for gift cards is for personal use when you don’t want to carry a lot of cash. For instance, if you plan on doing some shopping but don’t want to carry cash, you can load up a gift card with a specific amount.

This provides you with the convenience of a debit card without the risk of overspending.

Alternatives to Gift Cards

While gift cards are a popular choice, there are some alternative options that you might want to consider.

E-Gift Cards

E-gift cards are similar to traditional gift cards, but they offer a unique code that can be redeemed online or in-store. These codes can be sent directly to the recipient’s email or text message, making them a great option for last-minute gift-giving.

They are also a great option for those who are looking to save time and avoid the hassle of purchasing a physical gift card.

Gift Certificates

Another option for gifting is gift certificates. These are sheets of paper with a unique code that can be used to redeem a specific value at a retailer or restaurant.

They work in a similar way to gift cards and are often used as alternative rewards for contests and giveaways.

Tips for Gift Card Giving

Gift cards are a great option for gifting, but there are some things to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Firstly, it’s important to choose a reputable retailer or business when purchasing a gift card.

This ensures that the recipient will have plenty of options when redeeming the card.

Another important consideration is the expiry date of the card.

In some cases, gift cards can expire if they are not used within a certain period of time. This is something to keep in mind when choosing a gift card, as you want to ensure that the recipient has enough time to use it.

Finally, make sure to read the terms and conditions associated with the gift card before making a purchase. This will help you to understand any fees associated with the card, as well as any other conditions that may apply.


In conclusion, gift cards are a convenient and popular option for gifting. They offer a range of advantages over traditional gift-giving methods, including ease of use and convenience.

However, there are also alternative options available, such as e-gift cards and gift certificates. By keeping these tips in mind when purchasing a gift card, you can ensure that you get the most out of your gifting experience.

3) Size and Materials of Gift Cards

Gift cards come in a standard size that adheres to the CR80 specification. The standard size of a gift card is 3.375 inches by 2.125 inches with an approximate thickness of 0.3 inches.

Gift cards typically have rounded corners to avoid sharp edges. This size is consistent with most credit card sizes, making them a standard mold for swiping and processing through magnetic stripe readers.

In terms of materials, PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the most popular choice for gift cards. PVC is a thermoplastic polymer that is durable, waterproof, and resistant to wear and tear.

The PVC material is overlaid with a laminate film that is wear-resistant and provides a barrier against smudging or fading. The overlaid film covers the data on the gift card, such as the barcode, magnetic stripe, or QR code.

Making custom gift cards is a popular option for businesses that want to stand out or have a unique look for a specific event or promotion. This can be done through vector graphic editing programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

These programs allow you to design the background color, company logo, text, and any additional information that needs to be included on the gift card.

Custom gift cards can also include a variety of features such as unique card numbers, magnetic stripes, barcodes, or QR codes.

A QR code, in particular, can offer more information such as a web address, promotion, or unique identifier. It is important to consider that while custom gift cards can offer greater personalization for a business, they may also result in more costs.

4) Financial Aspects of Gift Cards

Printing and issuing gift cards come with various costs. The cost of issuing a gift card covers the cost of printing and packaging, while the purchase fee for the gift card is the price that the customer pays.

The cost of materials for a gift card includes the price of PVC, ink, and paper that make up the card.

In addition to material costs, businesses must consider a transaction fee when using gift cards.

This fee is the cost that the processor charges for each transaction made using the gift card. It is essential for businesses to consider this fee when setting the price of their gift cards.

Another financial aspect to consider is when customers do not use the entire balance on their gift cards. According to a study by CEB TowerGroup, approximately 1-2% of the total amount loaded onto gift cards remains unspent each year, resulting in a significant financial gain for gift card issuers.

This unused money is considered profit as the cards have already been paid for, yet not all of the money has been spent.

Gift cards also have a lifespan of approximately five years.

After five years, gift cards in many jurisdictions are considered abandoned property and are typically added to a states unclaimed property bank. Once a gift card is added to this account, the holder can no longer claim it unless they can provide evidence that the gift card is their property.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, there is approximately $7.8 billion in unclaimed property in the United States, and lost gift cards make up a significant proportion of these funds.

In conclusion, gift cards come with various costs and revenue options for businesses.

The cost of printing, issuing, material, and transaction fees must be considered when pricing gift cards. It is important to note that businesses will likely gain unspent money after the gift cards have been used, but there is a five-year limit lifespan for gift cards as well.

By taking all of these factors into account, businesses can make informed decisions that maximize profits while providing significant value to customers. 5)


Gift cards have become a popular promotional tool for businesses across a variety of industries.

Gift cards can provide multiple benefits to both businesses and customers alike. Customizable options can be utilized to create unique experiences that can increase customer loyalty, which can, in turn, lead to increased sales.

One huge benefit of gift cards is their ability to increase sales by attracting new customers, as well as encouraging repeat purchases. Offering gift cards as a reward for customer loyalty programs can be an effective way to keep customers coming back for more.

Gift cards are also an excellent driver of last-minute purchases, as customers often use gift cards when they don’t have much time to shop. Gift cards can also be an essential promotional tool for any business, as they make an excellent addition to any marketing campaign.

Utilizing custom gift cards can help businesses stand out from the competition, providing a unique and cohesive brand experience for their customers.

On the other hand, a potential limitation of gift cards is that printing and distribution costs can be high.

Even though gift cards can bring in additional sales, the upfront costs of gift card distribution and management are not insignificant.

Moreover, a small percentage of unused money can remain on gift cards annually.

Although this can result in profits for gift card issuers, customers may view any form of reduction to the value of their gift cards as unfair, which can result in negative public relations or create dissatisfaction with the customer.

Furthermore, lost gift cards are another potential limitation.

When the gift cards are misplaced or stolen, it is impossible to get it back, and the holder can end up losing all of the money that was loaded on the card. This can be a negative experience for customers and give them second thoughts about purchasing gift cards from that issuer in the future.

In conclusion, gift cards can offer significant benefits to businesses and customers, including increasing sales and building customer loyalty. The potential limitations may become a factor in the decision-making process when offering gift cards, such as the cost of printing, distribution, unused funds, and lost gift cards.

It is vital for businesses to weigh the pros and cons of offering gift cards to their customers before making a final decision. It is also essential to keep in mind that gift cards are just one of the many tools that certainly have their advantages and disadvantages in a successful marketing campaign.

In conclusion, gift cards and their alternatives offered in this article have become a popular way to show thoughtfulness, reward loyalty, and drive sales for businesses. However, it is important to consider the potential costs and limitations associated with these as well.

Customizable options, standard features, materials used, as well as financial aspects and FAQ’s were covered in detail. By understanding the benefits and limitations of gift cards, businesses and consumers alike can make informed decisions when it comes to utilizing or participating in gift card programs.


1. What is a gift card?

– A gift card is a prepaid debit card loaded with a set amount of money used for purchasing goods similar to a cash-transaction.


What is an e-gift card? – An e-gift card is a digital version of a gift card that can be delivered through email or text, typically used for online purchases.

3. Can gift cards expire?

– Yes, gift cards typically have a lifespan of around five years before it is considered abandoned property and the unclaimed property agency can legally claim the funds. 4.

Can gift cards be reloaded? – In most cases, gift cards cannot be reloaded with more money.

5. What are the costs associated with gift cards?

– The cost of printing, issuing, materials, and transaction fees must be considered when pricing gift cards, and unused funds and distribution fees can result in additional costs for businesses. 6.

What happens to unused gift card money? – Approximately 1-2% of the total amount loaded onto gift cards remains unspent each year, which is considered a profit for the issuer unless the card is lost.

7. Can I customize my own gift cards?

– Custom gift cards can be created through vector graphics editing programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, and can be designed with personal details like the company logo, background color, unique card numbers, or QR code.

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