Gift cards have become an essential part of gift giving and doing business in various industries. So much so that there are many options and places to buy gift cards – and as such, choosing the right provider can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re trying to identify where to buy digital gift cards or physical ones for your business, then you’re in luck! This resource will provide all the information required, including the best places to buy gift cards.
Types Of Gift Cards to Buy
There are two different types of gift cards. These are physical (meaning plastic) and digital (no physical form). You can typically buy physical gift cards in stores from companies like Walmart and Target. These brands and others allow consumers to buy different types of gift cards – not only theirs. As for digital gift cards, you can generally purchase them from the same brands mentioned above and others.
Closed-loop vs. Open-loop Cards
One critical consideration is whether you want a closed or open-loop gift card.
Closed-loop cards work at one store or brand only. In other words, such cards are locked, which means recipients can only redeem the funds at the issuing merchant stores. Closed-loop cards usually have the issuing company’s name and logo printed on the back or front. You won’t find a major payment processor logo like Visa® or MasterCard® on these cards.
In contrast, open loop cards aren’t specific to any particular business. These cards aren’t locked to one merchant or brand and are accepted everywhere that supports the given payment processor. For example, you can use your Visa gift card at Sport Chek because the brand accepts payments by Visa.
Where To Buy Visa Gift Cards
Visa gift cards offer the most advantage since recipients can use them almost anywhere. And as for where to buy Visa gift cards, you can get them through various vendors. In fact, a simple Google search for “visa gift cards near me” should yield many results.
That noted, the two primary places to purchase Visa gift cards and others are at the issuing store or a third-party provider.
Issuing Store or Restaurant
While the Internet has made everything more accessible, there are still some benefits to buying gift cards at the issuing store. Think Home Deport, Sephora, Papa John’s, etc. These are examples of issuing merchants where you can purchase Visa gift cards.
- Customers often receive a perk when they buy gift cards from issuing merchants. For example, some stores offer something free to complement the card (e.g., gift card holders). Others provide an envelope with some brand messaging. Some take things a step further and provide free items like treats.
- There are usually a lot of design choices in-store.
- You can typically choose how much you want to load instead of sticking to pre-set prices.
- Customers can conveniently pick something a little extra to compliment their gift cards. For example, you can grab a hat that matches the theme of your gift card.
- There’s a good chance of getting a gift card BOGO (Buy One, Get One) deal, receiving an additional gift card free because you bought one.
- It’s a commute. Customers must drive to the store to buy their gift cards.
- Smaller merchants may not offer gift cards. So driving to the store could be a waste of time.
- There’s a good chance the card can only be redeemed at the issuing merchant, even though some gift cards work at various partner stores. For example, an Ultimate Dinning card is typically redeemable at many other locations like Cineplex, Swiss Chalet, and Montana’s BBQ & Bar.
In the past, you could only buy gift cards at the issuing merchant. But today, you can conveniently purchase your gift cards at third-party locations, such as card kiosks, malls, pharmacies, websites, etc.
That is one of the biggest game-changers in the retail industry. Customers can now grab the cards they want while shopping for other things like groceries. Additionally, many third-party stores carry bank-issued gift cards.
- Being able to visit just about any store to buy a Visa gift card is convenient.
- Third-party stores often have a diverse selection of cards from retailers, movie theaters, and more.
- Grocery stores and some third-party retailers provide additional incentives, such as discounts, when you buy a gift card off the rack.
- Third-party off-the-rack gift cards are typically limited in design choices.
- You’ll find most of these cards in pre-set dollar amounts you can’t alter.
- There are fewer overall choices of gift cards compared to what’s available on the market. Only the most popular stores are often available.
- The personal touch and overall presentation are usually lacking.
Where To Buy Gift Cards Online
Can you buy gift cards online? Absolutely. There are several places where you can buy gift cards online. Here are some of the organization’s consumers most frequent.
Amazon is the go-to for many things, primarily due to the fast shipping and overall service convenience. But people also regularly buy gift cards from Amazon, and you can find physical and digital gift cards. Some popular gift card choices include Visa, Netflix, Apple, Xbox, and IHOP.
In addition, the company doesn’t just carry gift cards from other providers – it also has Amazon cards.
When people think of where to buy Visa gift cards or standard gift cards, few executives think about restaurant.com. However, the platform is a popular destination among consumers for restaurant deals. Though their inventory only consists of food service brands, you can purchase different gift cards from various chains.
One thing great about restaurant.com is the simplicity of the process. Users simply register for a free account and start buying gift cards. The only drawback is that the max amount you can buy for physical gift cards is only $100.
Airbnb Gift Cards
If you’re looking to make someone’s vacation more fun, consider a gift card from Airbnb. The company sells gift cards for travel lodging at Airbnb hosts. It’s a thoughtful gift idea that works, and Airbnb gift cards are available in many third-party stores.
Bank Issued Gift Cards
Bank Visa gift cards offer recipients an incredible amount of flexibility. More specifically, people can buy whatever they want at any store that accepts Visa. So providing one of these cards to someone is like handing them cash.
You can buy plastic prepaid Visa cards or digital ones, and many providers allow you to customize or personalize your cards. For instance, you can add a picture or logo, emboss a small message, or include the recipient’s name. All of this makes bank-issued gift cards the perfect gift.
Here are some of the most common places to purchase these cards.
Awards2Go Prepaid Visa Cards are one of the most convenient solutions for businesses in the US market today. Customers can load more money than most cards and in any denomination from $5 to $1000. Plus, you can use these cards at any merchant accepting Visa in the US.
The solution is perfectly designed to help companies increase business relationships, employee morale, and productivity. You can purchase any number of cards and get volume discounts. So, for example, a company may buy 500,000 gift cards for its employees at a discount rate.
Additionally, the ‘Buy Now Load Later’ feature makes it possible to buy Visa gift cards without loading them immediately. Instead, you can load your cards whenever ready. This is great for organizations since it helps manage costs.
- There’s no need to load money on the card right away.
- Recipients can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted.
- Prepaid Visa cards are reloadable, so your recipients can choose to keep using their cards.
- Highly flexible and suited for most needs – gifting, employee incentives, rebates refunds, customer appreciation, and expense control (e.g., petty cash).
- The company offers both digital and physical gift cards.
- No limit to how many cards you can order – 100, 1000, 100,000, etc.
- You can customize the card design to make it even more special or match your company’s branding.
- The lowest per card fees in the industry.
- Client Portal is available for recipients to check their balance and load more funds.
- While rare, some vendors may not accept Visa prepaid cards.
GiftCards.com is one of the leading websites in the United States that sells bank Visa cards. You’ll find hundreds of brands to choose from, and the selection continues to grow.
Businesses can order as many cards as they would like, and GiftCards.com offers G-Money rewards as an incentive for its customers. However, while G-Money rewards accumulate with every purchase, you never get the same points. This is because there are a lot of merchants on the platform offering varying rewards.
- There are lots of retailers to choose from for just about any occasion.
- Depending on the issuing merchant and any offers available, you may save money on your gift card value. For example, you may be able to buy an IHOP gift card with a value of $100 for $90.
- It may be possible to personalize your gift card.
- You can buy physical and digital gift cards.
- The wide selection makes it hard to settle on a gift card
- It’s a hit or miss with the brands on the platform. For example, some cards have higher than average fees and unfair restrictions or limitations.
- Awful online reviews by consumers – many report cards canceled without explanation and lousy customer service.
This company is one of the top providers of gift cards. You’ll typically find cards from GiftCardMall in supermarket stores nationwide. And like Giftcards.com, there are gift cards from many companies, and consumers can shop by brand. Additionally, sometimes gift cards are sold for much less than their original value, depending on whatever promotions are in effect.
They also have a decent corporate or business solution for bulk orders.
- Access a large selection of gift cards from various brands.
- Digital and physical bank gift cards are available.
- You can customize the card design.
- It may take a few days to process your order.
- The sheer number of available brand gift cards makes it hard to choose.
- You have to do the research necessary to pick the right cards since there are so many companies. In addition, it’s crucial to assess fees and any additional stipulations.
How To Buy Online Gift Cards
So, how to buy online gift cards?
The process is quite simple; you can often buy gift cards online instantly. All you have to do is choose a provider and pick the gift cards you want – and some will ship your cards for free. Plus, most places offer both e-gift or virtual gift cards and physical ones.
Some companies also provide bulk or wholesale discounts. But keep in mind that you may need to register with the given provider before making your purchase.
Nevertheless, the above is just a general explanation of the process. So it’s a good idea to see an example of how it works. Let’s look at Awards2Go’s process (awards2go.net).
1. After you’ve acquired your account, click “Client Portal.”
2. Login with your email address and password.
3. You’ll see your dashboard. This will be empty since you still need to place your order.
4. Click “Orders” located on the left navigation menu and proceed to contact your Awards2Go Account Manager to place your orders. To do that, click the button that has a phone number on it.
5. Awards2Go will generate a due diligence form to keep track of your orders. You can download this form for your purposes.
Once you successfully purchase your prepaid Visa gift cards, you can see all the information about each order and their status under “Orders.”
Also, you’ll be able to see activity information on your dashboard for every order, such as the total amount loaded and the number of cards active.
6. If you bought your gift cards using the “Buy Now Load Later” feature, you can click “Load and Activate.” That will let you load any cards you bought, intending to distribute later.
Where To Buy Digital Gift Cards
If you’re looking to buy digital or virtual gift cards, here are some places where you can instantly buy gift cards online.
Bank-Issued Gift Card Website
You can visit the bank card provider’s website to buy digital gift cards. For example, Awards2Go customers can purchase physical and virtual gift cards directly from the website. This option is convenient and hassle-free. All you need is a working computer and Internet access.
Another way to buy digital gift cards is through a provider’s mobile app, such as Gyft. With mobile apps, you can typically purchase gift cards online instantly and send them to your recipients. The primary benefit of this option is mobility. You can order your cards from anywhere, anytime, through your smartphone.
A marketplace is a website where various vendors come together to sell products or services. One good example is eBay, where you can also grab gift cards or buy virtual gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). This option expands possibilities, but it’s risky – because your experience hinges on choosing the right seller.
As the name suggests, card resellers resell gift cards on behalf of other businesses, such as giftcards.com. Like with marketplaces, you’ll gain access to many different cards, but consumer experience varies, as previously noted.