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Your Guide To Small Business Gift Cards Plus 10 Best Gift Card POS Systems

By offering gift cards for your small business's products or services, you can entice new customers, encourage more spending, and improve your cash flow.

    Shannon Vissers
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Small business gift cards have become a vital payment tool for consumers and an equally important revenue channel for businesses, particularly during COVID. Research from Incisiv shows that physical gift cards sales from US retailers and restaurants grew 9% from 2019-2020, and digital gift card adoption grew at an even faster clip, on pace to soar 23% by 2025.

Whether your business offers digital or traditional gift cards, you definitely need some type of small business gift card system. Gift cards provide so many opportunities for small businesses, and not only because of COVID. Fortunately, most small business POS systems allow you to sell and accept gift cards. Read on to learn why you need a POS gift card system and how to find the best gift card systems on the market.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

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Best for any business that wants traditional or digital gift cards.
Best for any business that wants traditional or digital gift cards.

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Best for integrating with third-party gift card suppliers.
Best for integrating with third-party gift card suppliers.

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Best for multi-location businesses that want digital or traditional gift cards.
Best for multi-location businesses that want digital or traditional gift cards.

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Best for small businesses that want to sell eGift cards from their POS.
Best for small businesses that want to sell eGift cards from their POS.

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Best for restaurants & bars that want digital or physical gift cards.
Best for restaurants & bars that want digital or physical gift cards.

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Other Featured Options:

  • QuickBooks POS Desktop: Best for QuickBooks users that want traditional gift cards.
  • Upserve POS: Best for restaurants & bars that want traditional gift cards.
  • Shopify POS: Best for multichannel retailers that sell online & in-store.
  • Vend by Lightspeed: Best for retailers that want physical cards for in-store purchases.
  • TouchBistro: Best for restaurants that want gift cards with loyalty program integration.

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

5 Ways Gift Cards Help Small Business

First, let’s briefly talk about the benefits of adding gift cards to your small business.

  1. Branding: In this day and age, anything that gets your name or your logo out to the public is a plus for your business. You can sell your merchandise and send customers out the door with personalized shopping bags, and your own unique gift card can have the same effect.
  2. Spending Boosts: Studies have shown that most gift card users spend more than the total on their cards. According to First Data’s 18th Annual Prepaid Consumer Insights Study, US consumers paying with gift cards spend an average of $59 more than the value of their gift card. The confidence of knowing that at least part of their purchase is already covered can potentially spur the customer to buy more than they had originally intended. On top of that, gift cards have already been purchased, so if it goes unused or there is a small balance left on the card, you still get that profit.
  3. Improved Cash Flow: Many businesses have been hit hard financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doors were forced to close, new safety guidelines were put into place, and many businesses saw a significant decrease in sales. One way that some businesses stayed afloat was by selling gift cards. Digital and physical cards could be used online to make purchases or saved for future use. Regardless of how or when cards were spent, the money used to purchase the cards went immediately to the seller, opening up a new source of income and improving cash flow. Having a gift card program in place now can allow your business to do the same when sales slow down or there’s an emergency.
  4. Repeat Business: Once you’ve set up gift cards, it makes it easy to run marketing or promotions to attract new customers or garner repeat business. Having someone who purchases a gift card and gives it to a friend or family member who may not have previously been inclined to visit your store is a big bonus. However, you can also tack on promotions that, for example, give the purchaser a small gift card as a bonus for purchasing a gift card of a certain amount. You can also provide an additional credit good for a customer’s next purchase once they’ve used their gift card.
  5. Ease Of Use: Setting up or purchasing gift cards is generally a straightforward process whether you’re going directly through your POS system or a processing company. It can be as quick and painless as clicking a few buttons to activate electronic gift cards, or you can order physical cards, providing your design and company name. If you don’t currently have gift card functionality, chances are customers have asked about it at some point. For minimal time and money, it’s nice to have that option available.

10 Best POS Gift Card Systems For Small Business

The 10 best small business POS systems with gift cards are as follows:

Keep reading to find out which of these gift card POS systems is right for your business.

1. Square Gift Card Program

Square



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Best for any business that wants traditional or digital gift cards.

Square has become known throughout the restaurant and retail industries for its free, easy-to-use POS and mobile processing system. The same could be said of the company’s program of gift cards for businesses. Square stands out for its affordable and transparent gift card pricing and easy ordering. You can set up digital or physical gift cards with just a few clicks within the Square app.

Square doesn’t charge you anything to accept gift cards — it’s totally free. Pricing for physical gift cards starts at $0.80 per card for gift cards that feature your business name on your choice of a background template. Square also offers starter packs as well as fully customized physical gift cards featuring your own art. Square’s physical gift cards come with a magnetic stripe and are reloadable.

Square also offers digital gift cards, which you can sell online or in-person. It’s free to set up and sell digital gift cards, and you pay just 2.9% + $0.30 for each gift card that’s purchased online, or 2.6% +$0.10 if you sell a card with your POS. Square POS hardware, including the Square Terminal and Square Register, can accept either physical or digital gift cars. One of the only limitations is you can’t sell physical gift cards from your Square website.

Pros

  • Can be tracked in Square’s gift card sales reports
  • Digital and physical gift cards
  • Can be used online and in-store

Cons

  • Manual tracking required for third-party gift cards
  • Can’t sell physical gift cards online

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2. Lightspeed Gift Card Program

Lightspeed Retail POS



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Best for integrating with third-party gift card suppliers.

If you subscribe to Lightspeed Retail or Restaurant iPad POS systems (LS Retail also works on desktop PCs), you’re in luck — you can accept gift cards at no additional cost. Unfortunately, you can’t create and purchase gift cards directly through Lightspeed. Gift cards will need to be purchased through a third-party supplier. You can choose any third-party supplier, although Lightspeed recommends Plastic Printers. One thing to note is that gift card barcodes must be printed using EAN-13 or UPC-A standards for them to be compatible with your POS.

Choosing your own provider may — at first glance — seem like a bit of a hassle. But this gives you the freedom to compare pricing and create custom gift cards. And once they’re created? Lightspeed POS has a system in place that’s ready to accept those gift cards as payment seamlessly, in-person or online (provided that you have Lightspeed eCommerce enabled). You can also sell your Lightspeed gift cards in your Lightspeed eCommerce store. Yet another option is to use a Lightspeed integration like TapMango and LoyalAction, or vOucher to sell physical or digital gift cards.

Lightspeed can work with various payment processors, including its in-house flat-rate processing solution, Lightspeed Payments.

Pros

  • No additional cost to accept gift cards
  • Accepts gift cards from most third-party suppliers
  • Gift cards work online and in-store

Cons

  • Must purchase gift cards through third-party supplier

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3. Revel Systems Gift Card Program

Revel POS Systems



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Best for multi-location businesses that want digital or traditional gift cards.

Revel Systems offers an iPad POS solution that’s most suitable for medium- to large-sized businesses and businesses with multiple locations. Cloud-based Revel Systems has numerous features and add-ons, so it’s no surprise that it has a number of ways to launch your gift card program. The first option is using Revel’s proprietary gift card system, which is available as an add-on for an additional monthly cost (contact Revel Systems to get a quote). Once you’ve signed up, you can order gift cards through your sales rep or use Revel’s partner eCard Systems to design and order your physical cards.

Revel also integrates with several other gift card programs, so if you want digital cards or just want to explore different design options and pricing, those are available to you. Integrations include Givex, LevelUp, Loyaltree, and Paytronix.

With Revel Gift Cards (or one of the system’s integrations), it’s easy to set up your gift card program, sell gift cards online, and redeem cards. Gift card reporting is also available through your Revel POS system to track sales and view how many cards are in circulation. You can also import information into Revel if you previously used a gift card program with another POS provider.

Some other things to like about Revel is that it integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Payments, and the POS can be used for retail or restaurant businesses.

Pros

  • In-house and third-party gift card options available
  • Digital and physical cards

Cons

  • Additional cost to accept gift cards
  • Non-transparent pricing

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4. Clover Gift Card Program

Clover POS



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Best for small businesses that want to sell eGift cards from their POS.

Clover POS uses its own custom-built Android POS hardware, including the sleek all-in-one Clover Station, Clover Mini, and Clover Flex. Clover also has a gift card program that integrates easily with its POS system. You can choose from traditional magnetic stripe gift cards or eGift cards that your customers can keep right on their smartphones.

You can design your own physical cards quickly and easily through Clover Gift Cards by choosing from 70 designs or uploading your own. Pricing ranges from $1.00 to $1.25 per card based on the quantity purchased. Additionally, Clover integrates with various third-party gift cards for POS systems, including Loopz, GiftFly, LoyLap, and Factor4.

You do not have to pay any additional fees to accept gift cards through your Clover POS. You only have to pay the costs to produce the gift cards and a flat 2.5% processing fee when you sell a gift card (digital or physical). Both digital and physical cards purchased through Clover Gift Cards can only be bought and redeemed in-store. If you want an online redemption option, a third-party integration will be required. Clover Gift Cards is a great option for businesses that want to sell and redeem digital gift cards from their POS rather than online.

Pros

  • No additional cost to accept gift cards
  • Digital and physical gift cards

Cons

  • Third-party integration required for online redemption
  • Not compatible with Clover Go

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5. Toast Gift Card Program

Toast POS



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Best for restaurants and bars that want digital or physical gift cards. 

Toast is an Android POS system specifically designed for restaurants. Toast offers several different gift card options. For $50/month, you can accept physical gift cards and eGift cards from your customers. This add-on is in addition to your monthly subscription fee unless you purchase the $272/month Growth subscription, which has gift cards included. Alternatively, restaurants that want to sell digital gift cards without a POS can opt for the $100/month Toast Now Plus digital ordering suite, which includes eGift cards, along with online ordering, contactless delivery, and Toast’s mobile ordering app.

If you sell physical gift cards on the Toast platform, you will also need to purchase the cards, with pricing from $0.30 to $1.00 per card based on quantity purchased and customization. You can also use one of Toast’s third-party integrations to build your gift card program. Available integrations include Paytronix, Punchh, Smart Transaction Systems, SwipeIt, and The Customer Connection (TCC).

Toast makes it easy to sell and accept digital gift cards from your POS, which is not something a lot of restaurant POS systems can say. Gift cards can be redeemed in-store and online. Toast is an excellent choice if you want a full-service restaurant POS with a digital and/or traditional gift card program as well as third-party options.

Pros

  • In-house and third-party options available
  • Redeemable online & in-person
  • Option to sell digital gift cards without a POS

Cons

  • Additional monthly cost to accept gift cards

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6. QuickBooks Point Of Sale Gift Card Program

QuickBooks POS Desktop



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Best for QuickBooks users that want traditional gift cards. 

QuickBooks POS is a locally-installed POS system for Windows PCs and tablets. As you might surmise, the system’s main draw is that it syncs your sales data with QuickBooks Desktop. QuickBooks POS also has built-in gift card functionality.

QuickBooks POS gift card service (managed by Givex) carries a monthly charge of $14.95/month for the first 100 gift card transactions; monthly transactions over 100 are an additional $.20/transaction. The gift cards themselves are priced starting at $0.95, with a minimum 150 card order.

QuickBooks POS gift card sales are separately tracked, as are card balances. Merchants also have the ability to issue refunds on gift cards as store credit, and to check gift card balances at the POS without ringing up a sale. QuickBooks POS gift card numbers and balances are printed on receipts, and cards can be redeemed at any store location, not just the issuing store.

Note that this version of QuickBooks POS (which is currently the only version; QuickBooks Cloud POS is no longer sold) only works with QuickBooks Desktop and will not sync with QuickBooks Online. You can, however, connect your QuickBooks GoPayment mobile POS to your QuickBooks POS account.

Pros

  • System integrates directly with QuickBooks Desktop
  • Can issue refunds on gift cards as store credit
  • Automatic gift card tracking

Cons

  • Physical gift cards only
  • Additional monthly cost to accept gift cards

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7. Upserve POS Gift Card Program

Upserve POS



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Best for restaurants and bars that want traditional gift cards.

Upserve (formerly Breadcrumb) is a comprehensive restaurant POS system that’s available on both Android and iPad. Upserve users can opt to use the Upserve Gift Cards add-on (available for an additional monthly fee; contact Upserve for more details) or use a third-party integration, such as The Customer Connection (TCC), Swipeit, Opticard, and Paytronix. 

Upserve Gift Cards integrates seamlessly with your Upserve POS system, so it’s quick and easy to get started. You can create your own physical gift cards and even receive complimentary design assistance if needed. Cards are priced at $0.19 to $0.79 each based on the quantity ordered. You can easily check out gift card reports from your Upserve portal, and customers can check their balances right from their smartphones by scanning a QR code.

The downside is that cards created through Upserve Gift Cards can only be redeemed in-store. You will have to use a third-party integration for cards that are redeemable online. You will also need to turn to a third-party integration if you want digital gift cards. This makes Upserve best suited for restaurants or bars that prefer physical gift cards that are easy to create and can be redeemed in-store.

Pros

  • In-house and third-party gift card options available
  • Customers can check card balance on their phone

Cons

  • Additional monthly cost to accept gift cards
  • Digital cards only available through third-party integrations

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8. Shopify POS Gift Card Program

Shopify POS



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Best for multichannel retailers that sell online and in-store. 

Shopify POS is a flexible, scalable retail system that lies at the intersection of eCommerce and iPad POS. Shopify also offers a gift card program. Previously, only higher tier plans had access to Shopify’s gift card program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, though, Shopify gift cards are now available on all plans.

There is no charge to activate or accept gift cards through Shopify. However, you will have to pay processing costs for physical cards. Pricing ranges from $0.30 to $1.49 per card and is based on the quantity you purchase. If you choose to use digital cards, you’ll pay Shopify’s standard processing fee for each card sold.

Shopify’s gift cards can be purchased and redeemed either at your POS or in your Shopify eCommerce store. You can create physical cards and/or digital eGift cards, both of which use QR codes. Additionally, customers can redeem Shopify gift cards on your other online channels that use the Shopify checkout, such as Facebook and Pinterest. You can also issue a free gift card with a set value to an existing customer as a reward or promotional incentive.

Pros

  • Multiple options for redemption, including social media
  • Physical and digital cards
  • Can issue promotional gift cards

Cons

  • Cards are not reloadable
  • Gift card availability on lower-tier plans may be dropped in the future

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9. Vend POS Gift Card Program

Vend by Lightspeed



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Best for retailers that want physical cards for in-store purchases.

Vend is a cloud-based, user-friendly retail POS system that can be a good fit for businesses of all sizes. Vend also has a gift card program that’s available to Pro plan subscribers, which is priced at $129/month. Lite plan subscribers will need to upgrade to be able to accept gift cards.

You can use your choice of a third-party provider to create and order your cards, although Vend recommends using its partner Plastic Printers. Prices for your gift cards vary based on the provider you select, as well as customization options and the quantity purchased. No digital card options are available.

One major drawback of Vend is that cards can only be redeemed in-store, so online sellers will want to consider other options for a gift card system for their small business. However, if you have a brick-and-mortar store and already use Vend, this could be the right program for you.

Pros

  • Included in Pro plan subscription cost
  • Easy to set up
  • Can be used with third-party gift cards

Cons

  • No eGift cards
  • In-store redemption only

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10. TouchBistro Gift Card Program

TouchBistro



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Best for restaurants that want gift cards with loyalty program integration.

TouchBistro is a popular, affordable iPad POS for restaurants with a gift card add-on that lets you sell physical and digital gift cards. This $25/month add-on lets you sell branded, customized gift cards from your restaurant, and digital gift cards online or from your POS.

TouchBistro gift cards can be tracked using your POS and redeemed at any of your store locations (though not online). TouchBistro gift cards also integrate with your loyalty program if you have this TouchBistro add-on enabled as well. For example, customers can earn gift cards as rewards through the TouchBistro loyalty program.

One thing to note about TouchBistro is that it is compatible with various payment processors, but not all of those processors have gift card-compatible terminals. Notably, TouchBistro is compatible with Square POS, whose readers are indeed gift card-compatible (via swipe or manual card number entry).

Pros

  • Physical and digital gift cards
  • Can sell digital cards at POS
  • Integrates with in-house loyalty program

Cons

  • Additional monthly charge
  • In-store redemption only

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3 Types Of Small Business Gift Cards

So now, let’s give you a few examples of the types of gift cards you can purchase to see what might be the best fit for your business.

1. Digital Gift Cards

In many respects, this is the easiest way to utilize gift card functionality. Digital gift cards (also known as electronic or “eGift” cards) give customers the ability to purchase gift cards online, which can be sent to a friend or used by the customer on your website or in your store.

Some electronic gift cards have a numerical code that you can redeem from your terminal, like a regular credit card transaction. Other programs feature a regular barcode or a QR code (2D barcode) that your business’s POS system can scan from the customer’s phone or printout.

You lose some of the benefits of branding by not having physical cards in your storefront, but you can’t beat the convenience — or the affordability. While eGift cards have no production cost, traditional gift cards cost about $1 each to produce.

2. Barcode Gift Cards

If you want to set up physical gift cards, consider gift cards with barcodes. A gift card with a barcode acts as a unique account for the customer that uses it. You can store and search a customer’s information via their account using a barcode scanner. When the gift card’s balance hits zero, there is usually the option to reload it. Barcodes tend to be popular for membership or customer loyalty cards because they are quicker to scan and don’t require as much data security.

Digital gift cards that use barcodes can be scanned from a phone or printed piece of paper. You can also use gift cards with QR codes, a type of barcode that requires either a 2D barcode scanner or a smartphone/iPad/tablet to read.

3. Magnetic-Stripe Gift Cards

The other option for physical cards is to have magnetic stripes. In fact, more often than not, physical gift cards use magnetic stripes, as they have superior data security compared to barcodes. These reloadable cards swipe through your credit card terminal the same as any debit or credit card, and the amount gets automatically deducted from the customer’s account information stored on the stripe.

The only issue with magnetic stripes is that if the card is stored for a long time in a wallet or purse, the stripe can eventually wear out, and it can be difficult to look up the customer’s information in your system. Nevertheless, magnetic-stripe gift cards are the easiest and most secure way for most brick-and-mortar businesses to accept physical gift cards.

What About Gift Certificates?

Some businesses still sell gift certificates, but that’s not as commonplace as it was in the ’80s and ’90s, before credit card usage was as prevalent as it is now.

Fun fact: Due to people using counterfeit gift certificates, Blockbuster invented the gift card in 1994. In addition to the counterfeit risk, gift certificates also aren’t reusable or reloadable, which can make it less likely that the customer will spend more at your business than whatever the certificate entitles them to. And being made of paper, certificates are far less durable than gift cards and more difficult to track and manage credit for if the customer doesn’t spend the entire balance.

However, gift certificates can still be advantageous, especially for certain business types. Generally, gift certificates are more effective for services rather than for monetary amounts. For example, a spa business might sell gift certificates entitling the recipient to a free massage, or a salon might sell certificates for a free haircut. If you have a service-based business, it can be beneficial to sell gift certificates to introduce new customers to your services and, of course, to make money by selling the certificates themselves, as health and beauty services are popular gifts. A gift certificate for a free spa day can make for a more personal and desirable gift as opposed to a gift card with money on it.

Of course, you can also sell gift cards in addition to gift certificates, perhaps selling gift certificates only for select products or services rather than cash value.

Gift certificates are also less costly to produce than gift cards so that could also be a consideration.

How Do I Offer Gift Cards For My Business?

Now that you’re aware of some of the benefits of a gift card program for small businesses, as well as some available options, let’s briefly talk about how to add them to your offerings.

1) Offer Gift Cards Through Your POS

If you want gift cards, the first step is to talk to your existing POS company/payment processor. If they can’t do gift cards, look for alternatives.

Offering cards through your POS is the easiest way to get started, and it ensures that your program works with your POS. A POS with an in-house gift card program makes things easier in terms of gift card payment processing and reporting. You can easily track both gift card sales and redemptions and generally see how well your gift card program is going. However, if your POS integrates seamlessly with a third-party gift card software program, this can sometimes work just as well (more on third-party integrations in a moment). If your POS does not offer gift card functionality at all, you may want to consider upgrading to a modern cloud POS system that does.

If your POS does offer a gift card program, make sure to check if it’s an additional add-on. For example, some companies, such as Square, offer gift cards for free on all accounts — you only have to pay for the cost to produce the cards themselves. Other companies, such as Toast, charge an extra monthly fee on accounts with gift card functionality.

2) Use An Integrated Third-Party Gift Card Company

You can also shop around and select your own gift card company directly if you have specific or unique needs that your POS system’s gift card functionality doesn’t provide. But if you plan on using these cards with your POS, make sure that they’re compatible first. If you already have a gift card provider from a third party, some companies have a system in place that allows you to transfer your information into their program seamlessly.

POS companies may integrate with one or a handful of companies that specialize in gift cards for POS systems. Again, you will want to see if these integrations are free or come with a fee. The easiest way to set up gift cards with a third-party integration is to go directly through your POS system to make sure that it syncs up seamlessly.

3) Use A Standalone Third-Party Gift Card Company

In some cases, a company may opt for a standalone gift card company because they use a very basic POS that doesn’t have any gift card integrations, the price is too high, etc. If the gift card company you want to use does not work with your POS, you will need to use a workaround to process gift card transactions separately from regular transactions. In some cases, you may be able to use a company that will build a custom software integration that connects your POS software to another business software (Zapier is one example). Or, if your POS has an open API, you may be able to pay a developer to create an integration for you.

4) Use An eGift Card App

A digital-only gift card option can be an easier, greener way to offer gift cards without spending too much on plastic — or even integrating your POS if you don’t want to. With some eGift card services, you simply sell eGift cards online, download an app to your mobile device, and use your mobile device or a scanner to scan the customer’s QR code from their phone or printout. Or you can email gift cards to recipients in the form of a numerical redemption code. Some eGift card programs generate 16-digit codes that you can key into your terminal and process as a regular Mastercard transaction, eliminating the need to integrate your POS with gift card software.

Web-based gift card apps allow you to sell eGift cards online, including on social media and your company website. However, most eGift cards can be redeemed both online and in your store. Companies that sell eGift cards may charge a small monthly fee or charge a percentage-based fee for each gift card sold.

Giftfly, GiftUp, Yiftee, and Givex are some examples of eGift card companies/apps for SMB. As mentioned, many cloud POS providers offer digital gift card options too.

Things To Ask Before Deciding On A POS Gift Card System

Here are some crucial things to think about before you decide to implement a gift card program at your small business:

  1. Can you accept gift cards using your current POS software and equipment?
  2. What gift card programs does your POS offer (in-house or via third-party integrations), and what are the associated costs?
  3. Does any of the other business software you currently use offer gift card functionality?
  4. Is it important that your POS integrates with your gift card program (for sales reporting, ease of use, equipment considerations, etc.)?
  5. If your POS does not or can not accept gift cards, would you consider upgrading to one that does?
  6. Does your business have an online presence — either for eCommerce or promotion?
  7. Are you willing to pay a monthly fee to include gift card functionality? If so, how much?
  8. Do you want to sell physical gift cards, digital gift cards, or both?
  9. Do you want to use gift cards to drive loyalty or promotions (for example, issuing free gift cards for promotions)?
  10. How will you market your gift cards? Do you have social media accounts for promotion, plans to start an email marketing campaign, or advertise in your brick-and-mortar location? Do you have the time to implement these plans, and are there any associated costs?
  11. How many cards will you need?
  12. What is your budget to produce your gift cards?

There are so many options for accepting gift cards at your business, but if you weigh all of the above considerations, you should be well on your way to figuring out what kind of gift card program you need.

Final Thoughts About Gift Cards For Small Business

Your POS gift card system will work best when combined with your business’s other marketing efforts. Especially during the time of COVID, businesses need to be creative in how they market their services, using gift cards and other promotional tools. Indeed, small business gift cards were an important source of profit for many shuttered businesses during lengthy coronavirus shutdowns. Even though we hopefully won’t see another round of prolonged business closures related to COVID, many small businesses are still vulnerable to cashflow problems during with the combined effects of pandemic, inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues. Here are a few resources to help you get the most out of your POS gift card system and survive these trying times:

Frequently Asked Questions About Gift Cards For Small Businesses

Are gift cards good for small businesses?

Gift cards can be a great asset for small businesses. They provide a way to entice new customers or encourage loyalty from regulars. Selling gift cards can boost cash flow in an emergency, as seen during the COVID pandemic.

How do businesses make money on gift cards?

Businesses make money on gift cards in two ways. One, gift cards can encourage customers who otherwise wouldn’t shop at the business. Two, customers paying with small business gift cards tend to spend more than the card’s monetary value — meaning businesses make bigger sales.

Are gift cards reloadable?

Some small business gift cards are designed to be reloadable. However, not all cards support this feature. Depending on the business, offering reloadable gift cards may be an effective way to encourage brand loyalty.

How does a gift card get activated?

Gift cards are activated at the time of purchase. Buyers specify the amount to be loaded on the card. Businesses complete the activation process through a POS system or credit card terminal. Until the merchant activates the card, it has no value.

How can I get gift cards for my small business?

Small businesses can get gift cards through several channels: payment processors and POS software providers typically offer gift card programs for their clients. A business can also turn to third-party gift card manufacturers.

In Summary: 10 Best POS Gift Card Systems For Small Business

  1. Square: Best for any business that wants traditional or digital gift cards.
  2. Lightspeed Retail POS: Best for integrating with third-party gift card suppliers.
  3. Revel POS Systems: Best for multi-location businesses that want digital or traditional gift cards.
  4. Clover POS: Best for small businesses that want to sell eGift cards from their POS.
  5. Toast POS: Best for restaurants & bars that want digital or physical gift cards.
  6. QuickBooks POS Desktop: Best for QuickBooks users that want traditional gift cards.
  7. Upserve POS: Best for restaurants & bars that want traditional gift cards.
  8. Shopify POS: Best for multichannel retailers that sell online & in-store.
  9. Vend by Lightspeed: Best for retailers that want physical cards for in-store purchases.
  10. TouchBistro: Best for restaurants that want gift cards with loyalty program integration.
Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
The former editor-in-chief of SteelOrbis, Shannon has been researching and writing about small business software and financing since 2015. Her shopping and retail expertise has been cited in numerous publications, including Reader's Digest, MSN, Yahoo Finance, and GOBankingRates . She has also published articles for LIVESTRONG.COM, eHow, Life'd, and other websites. Shannon attended San Diego State University, graduating in 2005 with a BA in English.
Shannon Vissers
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13 Comments

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    Asher Novahov

    Most eGift cards can be redeemed both online and in your store. Companies that sell eGift cards may charge a small monthly fee or charge a percentage-based fee for each gift card sold. Thank you for this post.

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

      Dave

      I am looking for a “gift” type card that can be managed (activated or deactivated), to use at participating retailers and restaurants in the local area. The idea of the card would be to give a discount, for example to a dining bill. The card would not be loaded monetarily

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

        Jessica Dinsmore

        Hi Dave,
        This is a good question. Some of the third-party gift card integrations might have something like this but we aren’t aware of any offhand. It would definitely be an advanced feature as what you’re after is not technically a gift card. If you find something that works, please come back and let us know!

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

          Jennife3r

          I am interested in cards that can be given to clients throughout the country and can be reloaded from one location without the physical card in hand. Is this service available?

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

            Jessica Dinsmore

            Hi there Jennife3r,

            Yes, some companies have eGift card programs where they’re able to reload a customer’s card if the customer has the number. Or there can be a gift card/loyalty program where a customer’s information is stored and can either be accessed by that customer themselves or an employee to add funds.

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

              kevin miller

              i want to be able to set up a gift card shelf like you see at the Dollar Generals or Wal Mart where i can sell other companies gift cards ( outback amazon visa ect.) like they do at my service station, but i cannot find a company that offers such a thing. Anybody that could pointe me in tbe right direction would be greatly appreciated

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                Jessica Dinsmore

                Hi Kevin,

                That’s a great question. This post is about setting up gift card functionality for your own store, and to that end, we don’t have any posts (yet) on selling third party gift cards. You may be able to sell gift cards for other stores by purchasing directly from a wholesaler, to sell them like you would sell any other product. If you figure it out, please come back and let us know! All our best!

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                  Siobhan Cleary

                  Thanks for this great article. Our client’s online store uses Stripe and they recommend a gift card option by Giftup.com – do you have any insights on this particular option as compared to those you have reviewed here?

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                    Jessica Dinsmore

                    Hi Siobhan!

                    Unfortunately, no. We haven’t reviewed Giftup, so we really can’t give an opinion one way or the other. Best wishes.

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                      Julie Carswell

                      My family business has 15 POS and due to the virus would like to reduce/eliminate cash from the POS at the bars. My first thought is to use gift cards, but I also would like to offer a gift card that is not exclusive to our business. For sanitary reasons, I would like to keep cash away from the food/beverage POS and sell a major credit gift card at our box office that could be used at our bars and still afford our customers to spend any remaining money left on the card at a different location. Example – right now I can buy a VISA gift card at CVS or Walmart and use that card at CVS or Walmart or at any other business that accepts major cards. I have asked my bank and they do not do this. Someone does and I am hoping you do or can point me in the right direction. Thank you, Julie Carswell 850-524-6901

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                        Jessica Dinsmore

                        Hi Julie,

                        We double-checked with several major POS systems and it doesn’t look like they offer the ability to sell gift cards that can be used anywhere like VISA gift cards but it’s a good idea. Currently, many systems let you purchase third-party gift cards that can be used at any of your locations and can be used digitally but they don’t allow for the balance to be used just like cash anywhere.

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                          Dale

                          Can you not purchase prepaid Visa or MC with your logo imprinted on the card? That way your customer buys it from you with your brand, but can spend the money anywhere. Of course, they will think of you first since it’s your branded card.

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                            Jessica Dinsmore

                            Hi Dale,
                            You definitely can order prepaid Visa or Mastercards co-branded with your logo. I did a quick google search and found a company named “Omni Card” that offers co-branded prepaid cards, though we haven’t reviewed them, so I can’t give an opinion one way or the other.

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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