Short answer: a gift certificate, also known as gift voucher or gift token in the UK, is merely a piece of paper issued by the business that is redeemable for a set amount.
Paper gift certificates are very popular since McDonald’s first launch in 1970. Many companies or retail stores started to aware of the benefits of issuing their own gift cards. But at that ages, plastic cards are only issued by the bank as deposit cards or credit cards. It was difficult for a business or retail stores to issue their own plastic gift cards because the price of PVC, the primary materials of plastic cards, were very high then. Also, lacking third-party gift card processing vendor at that time means you had to build the whole IT infrastructures behind. Therefore, using a piece of paper as gift certificates was the easiest and common option.
McDonald's gift certificate in 1988
Using this paper-based gift certificates was a very different experience, sometimes it can be perplexing for the cashier when the customer only wants to use a part of the amount. Usually, the cashier will strike out the initial amount printed on the paper with a pen and then write the new amount underneath. As you can image, gift certificates are least secure for the business, and there is a lot of room for errors. Paper gift certificates was also a management nightmare when a customer report lost his/her certificates. The issuer will spend a lot of time to verify the claim. The procedure usually starts from finding the record of certificate purchased amount, date and location, and then search in the whole transaction record to see whether this certificate had been spent or redeemed.
However, the greatest weakness of gift certificates is susceptible to fraud, especially when printers became common in 90s. But this weakness finally being wiped out by plastic gift cards.
Plastic gift cards
Neiman Marcus introduced the first gift card using a processing infrastructure in 1994, though Blockbuster Entertainment was the first company to launch plastic gift cards in 1996. Starbucks was also the major player in the industry, they launched the first reusable plastic gift cards in 2001.
Today, gift cards have changed our life, people love gift cards as it’s a great holiday present, but some said gift cards have ruined our Christmas. However, today’s gift card industry is enormous. According to the research by Packaged Facts in 2016, the amount that USA adults spent on gift cards were $46B.
Today's McDonald's gift card
Here are some reasons why plastic gift cards is a better choice:
Durability. Just like your credit card, plastic gift card made of PVC with glossy or matte lamination on the surface, making the cards extremely durable and water-resistant.
Safe and convenient. Today’s plastic gift cards are safer than paper gift certificates thanks to the professional gift card processing vendor behind the cards. Also, setting up the gift card program is an easy job today.
Marketing. Plastic gift card with great printing will represent cost-effective advertising that helps increase your brand awareness.
Printing plastic gift cards is not a difficult job when you choose a trusted supplier. Vigor Printing is one of the leading plastic card factory that produces high quality plastic gift cards for a lot of famous brands, such as Adidas, Nissan, Sony, to name a few.
Contact Vigor Printing for more information about plastic gift cards today: firstname.lastname@example.org