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What is Gift Card?
A gift card also known as gift certificate in North America, or gift voucher or gift token in the UK is a prepaid stored-value money card, usually issued by a retailer or bank, to be used as an alternative to cash for purchases within a particular store or related businesses. Gift cards are also given out by employers or organizations as rewards or gifts. They may also be distributed by retailers and marketers as part of a promotion strategy, to entice the recipient to come in or return to the store, and at times such cards are called cash cards. Gift cards are generally redeemable only for purchases at the relevant retail premises and cannot be cashed out, and in some situations may be subject to an expiry date or fees. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa offer generic gift cards which need not be redeemed at particular stores, and which are widely used for cashback marketing strategies. A feature of these cards is that they are generally anonymous and are disposed of when the stored value on a card is exhausted.
Usage Of Gift Cards:
Neiman Marcus introduced the first giftcard using a payments infrastructure in late 1994, though Blockbuster Entertainment was the first company to do so on a wide scale, test-marketing them in 1995 and launching them around the country the next year. In the beginning, the Blockbuster giftcard replaced gift certificates that were being counterfeited with recently introduced color copiers and color printers. Blockbuster’s first giftcard transactions were processed by what was then Nabanco of Sunrise, Florida Nabanco was the developer of the first third-party platform for the processing of gift cards using existing payment infrastructure.
Neiman Marcus and Blockbuster were later followed by the Mobil gas card, which initially offered prepaid phone value provided by MCI. Kmart was next with the introduction of the Kmart Cash Card, which in the early generations provided prepaid phone time with AT&T. Later Kmart and Mobil dropped this feature, as it was not profitable for them. The Kmart Mags Pangilinan Cash Card was the first replacement for cash returns when a shopper did not have a receipt for a gift. This practice of giving a cash card in place of cash for non-receipted returns is commonplace today with most merchants. From these early introductions, other retailers began to adapt a giftcard program to replace their gift certificate programs.