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How To Sell Gift Cards For Small Business

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

    Nicolette Kier
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

The best gift card systems for small business connect to your POS system, a loyalty program, and work for physical and eGift card sales. We researched several of the best POS systems for small businesses with gift card sales capabilities based on pricing, feature set, and ease of use so you can decide the best way to sell gift cards for your small business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanySummaryNext StepsSummary

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  • Best for low-cost physical and eGift card sales
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for low-cost physical and eGift card sales
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee

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  • Best for quick-serve and sit-down restaurants with many employees
  • $84-$424+/month
  • Custom contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for quick-serve and sit-down restaurants with many employees
  • $84-$424+/month
  • Custom contracts, early termination fee

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  • Best for single and multilocation retail businesses
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for single and multilocation retail businesses
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, early termination fee

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  • Most customizable gift card system and payment processing options
  • $14.95-$84.95/month
  • Several merchant service providers and custom contracts available
  • Most customizable gift card system and payment processing options
  • $14.95-$84.95/month
  • Several merchant service providers and custom contracts available

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  • Best for midsize retail and restaurant businesses
  • Custom quote
  • Standard three-year contract, early termination fee
  • Best for midsize retail and restaurant businesses
  • Custom quote
  • Standard three-year contract, early termination fee

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  • Most versatile restaurant gift card program
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Two-year standard contract, early termination fee
  • Most versatile restaurant gift card program
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Two-year standard contract, early termination fee

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  • Best for retail businesses focused on in-person and eCommerce sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for retail businesses focused on in-person and eCommerce sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, no termination fee

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

How Do I Sell Gift Cards For Small Business?

The simplest way to sell gift cards in your small business is to utilize your POS system to create digital gift cards. Customizable digital gift card systems provide an easy way to include your brand and build your customer base in the process.

Types Of Gift Cards To Sell For Your Small Business

Here are a few examples of the types of gift cards you can use for your gift card program.

eGift Cards

eGift cards give customers the ability to purchase gift cards online. With a good POS system, eGift cards can be emailed or texted to recipients in these ways:

  • Numerical code, which can be entered at the checkout page on your business’s website or the register
  • Digital barcode, which customers may print out and bring in or (more likely) scan from their phone
  • Digital QR code, which can be printed out or scanned at checkout in-store

Some gift card programs even allow customers to add their gift cards to a digital wallet such as Apple Wallet on their phones, so they’ll easily find them at checkout.

eGift cards are great because you can’t lose them, they have no production cost, and they meet buyers’ online shopping expectations.

Physical Gift Cards

Physical gift cards typically use either a barcode or a magnetic stripe.

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. Ideally, magnetic stripe cards should also have a printed number that you can look up or a barcode.

What About Gift Certificates?

Gift certificates have several disadvantages compared to gift cards, including:

  • Risk of people printing counterfeit gift certificates
  • Gift certificates aren’t reusable or reloadable, making it less likely that customers will spend more than whatever the gift certificate entitles them to
  • Paper certificates are less durable than cards
  • It’s difficult to monitor the credit if the customer doesn’t use their certificate in one transaction

However, gift certificates can still be advantageous, especially for certain business types. Generally, gift certificates are more effective for services such as a spa service or hotel stay, rather than for monetary amounts.

Gift certificates are also less costly to produce than physical gift cards and have a lower barrier to entry than eGift cards, so it may be worth considering if you have the right business type.

Many salon POS systems and golf course POS systems such as Square and Clover allow you to create gift certificates.

How To Offer Small Business Gift Cards

Use A POS Gift Card System

Most of the best POS systems for small businesses offer some type of built-in gift card functionality. 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.

Plus, many POS systems either come with or integrate with text and email marketing. This makes it even easier to generate gift cards as promotional items and send them out to potential or existing customers.

Integrate Your POS With A Third-Party Gift Card App

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.

If you plan on selling/redeeming gift cards that are generated from a third-party gift card sales app at your POS, make sure that the two systems are compatible first.

Find A Standalone Third-Party Gift Card System

In some cases, a company may find a standalone gift card company because they use a very basic or free 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.

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. An eGift card app may even allow you to avoid integrating your POS if you don’t want to.

GiftFly, Gift Up!, Yiftee, and Givex are some examples of eGift card companies/apps for small businesses.

However, if you’re just looking to make a gift card program that’s easy and more sustainable, it is worth noting that many POS providers allow you to run a digital-only program for no added cost.

7 Best Gift Card Systems For Small Business

The best gift cards for small businesses integrate with your sales software, connect to a loyalty program, and have online gift card sales options. Our top choices include:

Compare Gift Card Systems For Small Business

Pricing Payment Procesing POS Hardware Contract eGift Cards Free Trial
Square $0-$60/location/month 2.5%-2.9% $49-$1,959 Monthly
TouchBistro $94-$424/month Custom $299-$628+ Custom
Lightspeed Retail $69-$199+/month 2.6%-2.9% $299-$628 Monthly/Annual
Clover $14.95+/month 2.3%-3.5% $49-$1,799 Custom
Revel Systems Custom Pricing Custom Custom Custom
Toast $0-$165+/month 2.49%-3.99% Or Custom $0-$875+ 1-3 Years
Shopify $39-$399+/month 2.4%-2.9% $49-$459 Monthly/Annual

 

Square: Best Low-Cost Option

Total Rating 4.9
Pricing4.9

Ease Of Use5.0

Features4.8

Customer Service4.7

User Reviews4.8

Pricing

$0/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$49-$799

Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Free POS with free online store
  • No monthly fee to sell gift cards
  • Customers can check/reload gift card balance online
  • Attach gift card to a customer’s profile

Cons

  • Can’t sell physical gift cards online
  • Payment processing rate is high for higher-volume businesses

Square eGift card sale email receipt

Square eGift card sale email receipt.

Why We Chose Square POS As The Best Low-Cost Gift Card System

We love that Square offers one of the best free POS systems, a free online store builder, and free gift card management. We also like that Square offers specific POS software plans for retail, restaurant, and service-based business owners. Small business owners only need the $49 Square contactless card reader and a low-commitment monthly contract to sell physical Square gift cards and eGift cards. The only other cost associated with selling gift cards through Square is the cost of ordering plastic gift cards, which you have the option to customize and reuse over time.

Square POS Pricing

Square POS Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0/month If you have basic POS and processing needs
Square Appointments $0-$69/month If you are a business with extensive scheduling needs
Square For Retail $0-$60/month If you are a retail business with needs for advanced features
Square For Restaurants $0-$60/month If you are in the foodservice industry and need restaurant-specific features
Square Online Store $0/month depending on plan If you have eCommerce needs

The free Square POS app allows you to have an unlimited number of devices on your plan. On the Plus plan, you must pay an extra fee for every device you add to your setup and pay per location.

Physical gift cards, which include a barcode, numerical code, and/or QR code (depending on your design) cost between $0.81 and $2. The price difference depends on how many cards you order and how customizable you want your cards to be.

Square Small Business Gift Cards Features

Square POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management With Square for Restaurants
Delivery Management Add on
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Square’s most unique gift card sales features are its free eGift card functions, gift card purchase tracking, and the gift card features available at the register.

It’s free to sell eGift cards, and users can:

  • Purchase a single gift card using multiple payment sources, which is useful for several people going in on a group gift for a boss or friend
  • Send friends eGift cards online using the recipient’s email
  • Check their gift card balance and reload their gift card online
  • Purchase gift cards in bulk, which is great for companies purchasing gift cards for employees or a specific customer group

At the register, employees can sell and refund digital and physical gift cards, attach a gift card to a customer’s phone number or email, issue physical and digital gift card refunds, and reissue gift cards if a customer loses their gift card. If you have multiple locations, you can accept gift cards at multiple locations.

With Square’s gift card tracking, you can monitor gift card purchases, activation, and spending activity. Since customers are attached to gift cards, you can monitor customer activity and target your most loyal customers in future promotional gift card marketing campaigns.

Note: If you have Square Loyalty integrated into your system, customers can earn points on gift card purchases.

Hardware Cost & Options

Square POS hardware for small business POS

Square handheld POS system, Square Register, and Square iPad stand.

To take sales with Square, all you need is the $49 Square card reader (or $69 second-generation Square card reader) and a mobile device, which allows you to take in-person chip and digital wallet payments. Square physical gift cards have a QR code that iOS and proprietary Square device users can scan to redeem gift cards. If you are an Android user, you can type in the 16-digit card number. If a customer is using an eGift card, you’ll just type in the gift card code as a discount code.

Restaurants and retail stores should consider purchasing one of Square’s proprietary hardware solutions, such as the Square Stand ($149), Square Terminal ($299), or the Square Register ($799).

You can also purchase the $119 Square barcode scanner to scan gift cards. The barcode scanner is only compatible with the Square Stand, Square Register, Square Terminal, and Android devices.

Payment Processing Costs

Square Payments charges a payment processing fee of 2.5%-2.6% + $0.10 for in-person transactions and 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions. Card-not-present (i.e., manually-keyed-in card numbers) have a 3.5% + $0.15 processing fee.

If a customer purchases an eGift card in person, you will be charged the in-person payment processing fee.

Square does not integrate with any outside payment processors, so we recommend that higher sales volume businesses choose a different POS provider for better payment processing rates.

Note: You can sell Square gift cards using any POS software if you’re using Square as the default payment processor. If you decide you want to use another POS software such as TouchBistro but like Square’s gift card features, you can use Square as a payment processor and sell Square gift cards that way.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square is pay-as-you-go, meaning there is no commitment, and you can stop using the POS at any time without incurring any penalty.

One thing to know is that Square does not come with your own merchant account. As a payment service provider, Square has an aggregate merchant account model, which can sometimes lead to account instability, withheld funds, and (rarely) sudden account terminations.

When To Choose Square Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Square to sell gift cards if you:

  • Have a small POS hardware or monthly POS software budget
  • Have simple inventory needs in your retail or restaurant business
  • Want to sell eGift cards such as single gift cards, group gift cards, or sell gift cards in bulk for free
  • Want to sell physical gift cards that people can reload by themselves or at the register

We recommend an alternative such as Lightspeed Retail or Revel Systems if you have more complex inventory needs or multiple locations to manage. We recommend Toast POS if you have more extensive restaurant management needs.

Get Started With Square POS

Read our in-depth review

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TouchBistro: Best Affordable Restaurant Gift Card System

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.6

Features4.9

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$69/month

Online Ordering

Add-on

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Physical & digital gift cards available
  • Customers can send QR code gift cards to family & friends
  • Redeem gift cards at multiple locations
  • Cost-effective for large number of staff members

Cons

  • Can’t reload eGift cards
  • Can’t resend gift cards if the recipient’s email is incorrect
  • Must purchase gift card & online ordering separately

TouchBistro eGift card sales settings

Send an eGift card to someone else with TouchBistro.

Why We Chose TouchBistro POS As An Affordable Restaurant Card Gift Card System

We appreciate that TouchBistro is an affordable, simple iPad restaurant POS that lets you sell branded, customized gift cards from your restaurant, and digital gift cards online or from your POS. TouchBistro gift cards also integrate with your loyalty program if you have this TouchBistro add-on enabled. For example, customers can earn gift cards as rewards through the TouchBistro loyalty program.

The POS is an especially affordable quick-serve POS system for restaurants with many employees, as the unlimited POS license plan is one monthly fee.

TouchBistro POS Pricing

TouchBistro Plans Price  When To Use
TouchBistro Plan $69+/month If you have basic restaurant needs and are interested in purchasing add-ons

TouchBistro starts at $69/month for one register, billed annually. The Dual plan includes two user licenses and costs $129/month. The Team plan includes five user licenses at $249/month, and the Unlimited plan includes unlimited user licenses at $399/month.

TouchBistro add-ons include:

  • Online Ordering: $50/month
  • Reservations: $229/month
  • Gift Cards: $25/month
  • Loyalty: $99/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Kitchen Display System: $15/month

We believe that TouchBistro has one of the best kitchen display systems because it is affordable and easy to use.

The company charges a nonrefundable setup fee that starts at $200 and includes your hardware setup plus a software walkthrough.

TouchBistro Small Business Gift Cards Features

TouchBistro Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools Add-on
Online Ordering Add-on
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

TouchBistro is an affordable restaurant POS system specifically designed to make the lives of servers, kitchen staff, and restaurant management easier. The POS was created by seasoned restaurant staff and has taken every aspect of the restaurant management experience into account.

Here are some things to know about TouchBistro and its gift card system for small businesses:

  • Sell gift cards on an online ordering page, customer web app, and in-person
  • Schedule digital gift cards to be sent to friends and family on a certain date and time
  • Customers can earn gift cards as part of loyalty rewards
  • Personalize physical gift cards for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions (great for marketing with a coffee shop POS system)
  • Customers can redeem gift cards at any restaurant location
  • Take gift cards at a customer’s table and the register
  • Suitable for any type of bar or restaurant (cafe, fine dining, fast-casual, food truck, brewery, etc.)
  • Restaurant management features such as KDS, menu management, table management, and tableside ordering

Also, TouchBistro software has a great offline mode so you can take orders without WiFi. This is one reason why TouchBistro is one of the best food truck POS systems.

Hardware Cost & Options

TouchBistro POS hardware

TouchBistro countertop iPad POS, iPad stand, handheld iPad POS, cash drawer, card reader, and receipt printer.

TouchBistro runs on iPads and iPad Minis, which you may source yourself or purchase from TouchBistro. To accept gift cards, you can use an iPad camera to scan gift card QR codes.

TouchBistro-compatible payment hardware, such as Genius and Ingenico card readers, can be plugged into iPads to take mobile payments. Alternatively, when it’s time to pay, you can bring a separate credit card terminal to guests, take cards to the register, or send customers to the front to pay at a register.

The company also supports hardware from third-party suppliers such as Chase Payments Solutions (formerly Chase Merchant Services), Square, Star Micronics, Verifone, and Epson.

Check with TouchBistro before purchasing any hardware to make sure the hardware models are compatible with TouchBistro software. Alternatively, you can contact TouchBistro for a quote on hardware and make your purchases through the POS company.

Payment Processing Cost

TouchBistro integrates with several payment processors, including its own TouchBistro Payments, powered by Chase. TB Payments uses a cost-plus payment processing model.

The software also integrates with several payment processors, including Square and Worldpay, allowing you to choose the most cost-effective option for your restaurant.

Note: TouchBistro is compatible with various payment processors, but not all of those processors have gift card-compatible payment terminals. Discuss your gift card program with potential payment processing providers before making any commitments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

TouchBistro does require a contract (which includes an early termination fee) and does not offer month-to-month pricing. Your contract length is specified in your TouchBistro pricing quote.

If you do end up canceling your plan, you must send a written notice to TouchBistro at least 30 days before the end of your subscription term, or you’ll be automatically charged for another term.

When To Choose TouchBistro Small Business Gift Card Software

Use TouchBistro to sell gift cards if you want to:

  • Give several employees their own user accounts
  • Link customer loyalty accounts with gift card sales and redemptions
  • Allow customers to schedule an eGift card email/text to recipients in advance
  • Choose between an in-house and third-party gift card payment processor
  • Sell gift cards without a WiFi connection

We recommend a gift card POS system alternative like Toast or Revel Systems if you want more intensive restaurant gift card management for one or several restaurant locations, and you’re willing to pay extra for these features.

Get Started With TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Retail: Best For In-Person Retailers

Lightspeed Retail POS

Total Rating 4.1
Pricing3.7

Ease Of Use4.4

Features4.3

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.0

Pricing

$89-$269/month ($69-$199/month billed annually)

Contract

Monthly, annual, and custom

Equipment Cost

$199-$329

Pros

  • No additional monthly cost to sell gift cards
  • Add gift card expiration date
  • Restrict gift card user permissions
  • Accept gift cards at any retail location

Cons

  • Early termination fee
  • Must use in-house payment processor

lightspeed retail gift card tracking screen

Lightspeed Retail gift card settings in Lightspeed admin dashboard.

Why We Chose Lightspeed Retail POS For Selling Gift Cards At Retail Locations

We love that Lightspeed Retail, one of the best retail POS systems, is so customizable for both gift card sales and general retail inventory management. For no added monthly cost, you can sell physical/eGift cards, offer promotional gift cards so you can create marketing campaigns, and reload physical gift cards. Lightspeed is one of the only POS software options that allows you to add gift card expiration dates to drive customers to spend at least the card balance if not more. You can also restrict who can view gift card numbers and balances to improve security around gift cards.

Lightspeed Retail POS Pricing

Lightspeed Retail POS Plans Price  When To Use
Lean Plan $89/month ($69/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail business looking for strong inventory management and a customizable POS interface
Standard Plan $149/month ($119/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for eCommerce and accounting features
Advanced Plan $269/month ($199/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for a strong loyalty program and advanced business reporting

Each Lightspeed plan comes with one POS register license that you may install on most iPads or desktops. Extra licenses cost $59/license/month.

Note: With each new location, you get another register. For example, if you have two locations, you’ll get two registers, one in each location, but will only pay the added location fee. If you purchase a third register license, you’ll pay the added location fee and an additional $59/month.

Lightspeed offers several proprietary add-ons such as Lightspeed Subscriptions and Lightspeed Workflows. The company also offers third-party integrations like Booxi appointment scheduling software and Hubtiger rental software.

Lightspeed Retail POS Small Business Gift Cards Features

Lightspeed Retail POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling Standard plan and up
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty Advanced plan
Marketing Tools Standard plan and up
Online Ordering Standard plan and up
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Lightspeed offers standard features such as the ability to sell physical and digital gift cards, recharge gift cards, and issue promotional gift cards as part of marketing campaigns. You can also attach your Lightspeed loyalty program with gift cards to further your conversion efforts.

You can set custom security settings around gift cards, such as restricting employee access to gift card numbers to minimize the risk of anyone editing gift card information or amounts.

When it comes to gift card sales customizations, you can:

  • Choose a gift card expiration date and choose whether to honor expired gift cards
  • Order physical gift cards from several gift card providers and import the information to Lightspeed
  • Offer several images that customers can choose to attach to digital gift cards
  • Choose between several different fixed prices to load to a gift card
  • Create gift cards with open amounts so customers can purchase their custom amount
  • Create gift card minimums and maximums to drive a minimum number of sales and protect yourself from instances of fraud

Lightspeed’s best retail POS features include thorough inventory management, a built-in B2B sales catalog builder, several Lightspeed add-ons such as the loyalty program and the free scanner app, and several third-party software integrations so you can build the retail sales solution you need for your business.

Hardware Cost & Options

Lightspeed Retail POS hardware and new card reader

Lightspeed Retail card reader, iPad POS device in case, eCommerce site on PC and smartphone device.

You can purchase a Lightspeed Payments-compatible WisePOS E-card reader for $299 and an iPad for $329.

Lightspeed offers accessories such as an iPad stand for $199, a cash drawer for $129, a barcode scanner for $199, a label printer for $124, and a receipt printer for $399.

Contact a Lightspeed representative and ask about a discount on a retail POS hardware bundle.

Payment Processing Cost

Lightspeed requires all qualified Lightspeed Retail users in the US and Canada to use Lightspeed Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor.

You will be charged a payment processing rate of 2.6% + $0.10 for all in-person payments, and 2.9% + $0.30 per online transaction. This is on par with providers such as Square, Clover, and Shopify.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

As mentioned, month-to-month plans are available, but you’ll have to commit for at least one year to get the lowest price. However, if you cancel your plan, there is an early termination fee, so consider starting with a month-to-month plan before committing long-term.

Also, you must verify that you have received your Lightspeed hardware within five business days of receiving it, or the equipment is not covered under Lightspeed’s 30-day warranty (14 days for Apple products).

When To Choose Lightspeed Retail Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Lightspeed Retail to sell small business gift cards if you want to:

  • Sell gift cards with an expiration date that you can choose to honor
  • Accept gift cards at any retail location within your multilocation business
  • Set gift card minimum and maximum amounts to drive up sales while also protecting your business from potential fraud
  • Restrict user access to gift card information to keep buyer information safe and ensure gift cards aren’t being tampered with

We recommend an alternative such as Shopify or Clover if you want more online gift card sales settings in addition to strong in-person retail POS software.

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail POS

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Clover: Most Customizable Option

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.8

Features4.5

Customer Service4.4

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

Starts at $0/month

Contract

Depends on merchant services provider

Equipment Cost

$49-$1,799 per device

Pros

  • Several gift card integration choices
  • Free apps available
  • Several payment processor options
  • Customers can send gift cards to friends & family with email, text, and app

Cons

  • Some Clover vendors are predatory
  • Gift cards not compatible with Clover Go
  • High upfront POS hardware costs

clover gift cards

Why We Chose Clover POS As The Most Customizable Gift Card System

We like that Clover has its own gift card system and integrates with several third-party gift card software. You also get several options for your POS hardware and payment processing provider, so you can get the best payment processing rates possible.

Clover POS Pricing

Clover POS Plans Price  When To Use
Clover Payments $0/month If you only need to process payments and don’t need any POS hardware
Clover Essentials $14.95/month If you have a small retail/service-based business and don’t take returns
Clover Register $49.95/month If you have a small to mid-size retail/service-based business and need more POS features
Clover Counter Service Restaurant $54.95/month If you have a quick-serve restaurant, cafeteria, or mobile food service business
Clover Table Service Restaurant $84.95/month If you have a full-service restaurant or bar

The above Clover pricing is monthly software fees for users who purchase their Clover hardware upfront and in full from Clover.com.

You can also purchase your Clover POS system from several Clover-authorized sellers. This means that pricing for Clover hardware, software, and payment processing fees will vary.

There is no monthly fee to use the Clover Gift Cards app, but you’ll be charged $0.05 for every $2 gift card value sold. You can use a different gift card app, but the pricing structure may be different.

Clover POS Small Business Gift Cards Features

Clover POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments Depends on hardware choice
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering Depends on software plan
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance Add-on app
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Clover is a popular POS system with a variety of POS software and hardware options best suited for small retail, quick-serve restaurant (QSR), service-based, and mobile-first businesses.

Here are some popular features of Clover POS and its gift card system for small businesses:

  • Sleek, purpose-built POS hardware, including a handheld mobile POS system
  • Easy to customize your POS with free or purchased apps
  • Sell QR code gift cards from POS or website
  • Easy digital gift card redemption from smartphones
  • Customers can send digital gift cards with text, email, or app
  • Online ordering website included on all Clover plans for restaurants
  • Integrates with third-party gift cards for POS systems, including Loopz, Givex, GiftFly, LoyLap, and Factor4

Clover’s extensive number of niche integrations make it a versatile system for many business types. For example, Clover integrations with software like ID verification and lottery managers make Clover one of the best grocery store POS systems.

Hardware Cost & Options

Clover POS hardware

Clover countertop POS system, handheld POS system, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and card reader.

Gift card-compatible Clover hardware options include Clover Station ($1,699 or $1,799), Clover Mini ($799), and Clover Flex ($599) if you purchase your hardware directly from Clover.com.

In June 2023, Clover launched its own proprietary kitchen display screen which costs $799 plus a $25/month software subscription if you purchase from Clover.com.

You can mix and match these devices and purchase additional Clover POS accessories. Note that all these devices have built-in barcode scanning, though only Clover Station has a cash register.

Note: You cannot use any other software with Clover POS hardware. If you purchase Clover hardware and then decide to switch to another POS software provider, your Clover hardware will become useless.

Payment Processing Cost

If you use Clover’s parent company, Fiserv, for payment processing, you’ll get the following flat-rate payment processing:

  • Card-Present Transactions: 2.3%-2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Card-Not-Present Transactions: 3.5% + $0.10 per transaction

Card-not-present transactions include any phone order, third-party ordering platform order (e.g., Grubhub and Order With Google), invoice payment, online order on a Clover-hosted website, manually-keyed-in card payment, and any form of payment that is not a swipe/chip/tap card payment, cash, or check.

If a large amount of your revenue comes from online or phone orders, choose a different payment processor or POS provider for your restaurant.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Business owners who get their POS package from Clover.com are required to sign a 36-month or 48-month contract, which is not favorable but also not uncommon in the POS market. The company also charges an early termination fee if you decide to cancel.

At the same time, business owners who purchase from Clover.com will have Clover hardware support and (usually) fewer Clover scams to worry about.

If you want to get month-to-month contracts, no early termination fee, and/or better payment processing fees, read our post on the best Clover resellers.

When To Choose Clover Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Clover to sell gift cards if you want to:

  • Use a third-party gift card software
  • Choose your own gift card payment processor
  • Use Clover’s line of sleek proprietary POS hardware

We recommend an alternative such as Square for a more low-commitment option or Revel Systems for an even more customizable larger-scale POS system with gift card functions.

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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Revel Systems: Best For Midsize & Niche Businesses

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing3.6

Ease Of Use3.9

Features4.7

Customer Service4.2

User Reviews3.8

Pricing

Quote-based

Contract

Three-year commitment for lowest rate

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Custom/niche software features
  • In-house & third-party gift card options available
  • Digital & physical gift cards
  • Choice of hardware & payment processors

Cons

  • Long-term contract with early termination fee
  • Costs extra to take gift cards
  • One-time setup fee

Revel POS activate gift card at register

Activate a gift card at the Revel POS register.

Why We Chose Revel Systems For Midsize & Niche Businesses

We like Revel Systems because it is a highly customizable iPad POS that gives midsize business owners their choice of POS hardware, software features, payment processing provider, and gift card program. Its reporting features, including gift card sales reporting and marketing campaign monitoring, give midsize retail and restaurant businesses an idea of how their gift card programs are performing (and how to improve their program).

Revel Systems POS Pricing

Revel POS Plans Price  When To Use
Revel plan Quote-based: three-year commitment for cheapest plan Use if you are committed to the product and have a need for high-end features.

The pricing above was previously listed on Revel’s website. However, since our last update, Revel has removed pricing from the website in favor of having every business owner get a custom quote.

There’s also a one-time implementation fee of $674, but getting an established business’s POS up and running with any custom features it may need can be worth it.

Gift card software is a paid add-on, but you’ll have to contact Revel to find out how much it will cost to add the company’s gift card features to your POS package.

Revel Systems Small Business Gift Cards Features

Revel POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Revel Systems is a highly flexible POS system that works best for established small businesses in the retail and restaurant industry. The software makes it easy to manage multiple locations and a large inventory. It has many niche customizable features, such as drive-thru POS capabilities.

The following are some of Revel System’s small business gift card features:

  • Restaurant and retail business management
  • Sell digital gift cards on an online ordering website
  • Design and order physical gift cards from your POS portal
  • Preloaded and custom-pricing gift card sales
  • Reloadable gift cards
  • Issue promotional gift cards
  • Gift card tracking and reporting
  • Import current gift cards if switching from another POS or gift card app
  • Gift card integrations include Givex, Incentivio, eCard Systems, Paytronix, LoyaltyPlant, Valuetec, and Synergy Loyalty Solutions

Hardware Cost & Options

Revel POS hardware

Revel iPad POS register, iPad stand, iPad customer-facing display, cash drawer, receipt printer, and card reader.

Revel Systems offers POS registers, self-ordering kiosks, and kitchen display systems, plus niche integrations with hardware such as drive-thru menu boards. These restaurant-centric hardware and software make Revel one of the best restaurant POS systems.

The company also offers standard POS equipment like card readers (Ingenio and Link2500 brand), cash drawers, and barcode scanners. You can integrate Revel-compatible card readers as well.

Business owners must call Revel for a personalized hardware quote, which isn’t unusual for larger POS providers, but we’re still not a fan of less-than-transparent upfront pricing.

Note: To source hardware from somewhere other than Revel, you must get express written permission from the company. This is to ensure that you’re getting Revel-compatible hardware before spending the money.

Payment Processing Cost

Revel offers its own payment processor, Revel Advantage. Each business owner will get a custom quote for their payment processing fees.

Alternatively, you can integrate your Revel POS with an outside processor or payment gateway, such as Fiserv, Elavon, Heartland, TSYS, Worldpay, or Chase. Depending on your sales volumes and time in business, you could save money on fees if you shop around for a better payment processing rate.

Note: You will have to pay an added monthly fee to use a third-party payment processor. Take this into account when researching payment processors.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

To qualify for the lowest monthly rate, you must commit to a three-year processing contract with Revel Advantage and agree to annual billing.

However, since Revel charges a substantial late fee, we recommend that you get a shorter contract at first.

When To Choose Revel Systems Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Revel Systems to sell gift cards if you want to:

  • Create a completely custom enterprise-level retail or restaurant POS
  • Choose your own gift card payment processor
  • Integrate your POS with restaurant software like self-serve kiosks, drive-thru software, and kitchen display systems

We recommend an alternative such as Toast if you’re looking for an extensive restaurant POS system for a lower price and Lightspeed Retail if you’re looking for a retail POS system with niche features.

Get Started With Revel POS

Read our in-depth review

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Toast: Most Versatile Restaurant Gift Card Program

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing2.6

Ease Of Use4.7

Features5.0

Customer Service5.0

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$0-$165 plus custom plan

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

$0+

Pros

  • Customers can send gift cards using email/phone number
  • Customers can check & reload gift card balances online
  • Accept gift cards at the register, table, self-serve kiosk, & online
  • Easy for employees to look up customer gift card info & resend gift cards

Cons

  • Additional monthly cost to accept gift cards
  • Long-term contract with early termination fee
  • Customers collect points on gift card redemption, not purchases

Redeem Toast restaurant POS digital gift card using QR code on phone

Redeem a Toast POS digital gift card using a QR code on your phone.

Why We Chose Toast POS For A Versatile Restaurant Gift Card Program

We like that Toast's gift card features are very versatile and customer-focused, including the ability to redeem a gift card at the register, at a table, at a self-serve kiosk, or online. Customers can receive QR code gift cards via text or email, type in physical gift card barcode numbers at checkout, or use an eGift card. Servers can look up gift cards using a customer's name and contact info so even if a gift card gets lost, servers can apply it toward an order.

Toast POS Pricing

Toast POS Plans Price  When To Use
Quick Start Bundle $0/month You have a small, single-location restaurant with basic feature needs
Core $69/month You need a full point of sale suite with processing and custom hardware
Growth $165/month You need advanced features and are looking to bundle with digital ordering
Custom Custom Larger businesses looking to access the entirety of Toast’s features

Toast offers a $0 down, pay-as-you-go Quick Start Bundle plan. While you pay $0/month in subscription fees, you will pay a lot in payment processing fees. You can also only have one free POS terminal on this plan, which is not ideal for mid-size restaurants. If you use the Quick Start Bundle plan, you can add gift card functionality for an even higher payment processing fee.

On higher-level plans, you’ll pay $25/month to implement gift cards at your restaurant, $75/month for an online ordering platform, and $50/month to start your own loyalty program.

We recommend starting with at least the Core plan, which does require you to pay for your Android-based hardware upfront but will save you a lot of money in payment processing fees.

Restaurants that are planning to scale fast but have no upfront capital to invest in hardware should consider signing up for the Quick Start Bundle plan, and then bumping up to a paid plan (with more POS systems) as quickly as possible. Alternatively, restaurant owners interested in Toast may consider getting one of these best small business loans to get hardware now and pay for it over time.

Toast offers a Restaurant Basics plan for new restaurants, which includes everything in the Standard package plus employee scheduling, payroll, 401(k)s, and business insurance. This plan costs $110/month plus $4/employee/month.

The $165/month Growth plan includes the Toast digital ordering and delivery platform (you can get this as a paid add-on if you’re on the Core plan).

Toast POS Small Business Gift Cards Features

Toast POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Our favorite gift card program features from Toast include the customer-centric gift card purchasing and redemption features.

Customer-centric gift card features include customers’ ability to:

  • Purchase gift cards and schedule a gift card to be sent at a specific date and time, as well as include a special message for the recipient
  • Send gift cards using an email or phone number, which is great for customers who don’t remember the recipient’s email or check their email if they’re purchasing a gift for themselves
  • Choose from several different designs with pre-loaded or open-ended amounts
  • View and reload physical and eGift cards from an online portal
  • Add gift cards to their Apple Wallet

Toast’s best gift card redemption features include:

  • Guests can redeem gift cards online, at the POS, and self-serve kiosks
  • Guests can redeem gift cards by swiping a physical gift card, using an eGift card code, and scanning a QR code attached to an eGift card
  • Servers can accept gift cards via the Toast Go 2 handheld POS system, so customers can pay with a gift card at the table
  • Guests can still be prompted to leave a tip after using their gift card as payment
  • Multilocation businesses can accept gift cards at any location regardless of which location a customer originally purchased a gift card from, or if they purchased online

You may also combine your gift card and loyalty programs so loyalty customers can earn points when they redeem gift cards.

Plus, restaurant owners can easily import existing gift cards from other programs to Toast, so the transition will be smooth (and very much worth it).

Hardware Cost & Options

Toast restaurant POS hardware

Toast online ordering on a smartphone, Toast admin dashboard on PC, Toast KDS, Toast Go 2 handheld POS, Toast countertop POS.

Toast software only works with Toast’s proprietary Android-based hardware.

Toast hardware comes at the following prices:

  • Toast Go 2 Handheld POS: $627
  • Countertop POS: $875
  • Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Point: $104
  • Kitchen Printer: $269
  • Cash Drawer: $134
  • KDS: $629 + $25/month
  • Self-Serve Kiosk Terminal: $809 + $90/month

The Toast Go 2 is one of the best handheld restaurant POS systems on the market. We highly recommend it for sit-down restaurants and as a POS system for bars that are part of a multi-section establishment.

On the pay-as-you-go Quick Start Bundle plan, you can get the handheld POS for no upfront cost and no monthly fees, as long as you agree to pay higher per-transaction payment processing fees. If you pay upfront for your POS hardware, you’ll pay between $69/month and $165/month for your POS software.

In general, we do not recommend the pay-as-you-go plan because the higher per-order fees will cost you more than the original price of the hardware once you get in enough orders.

If you can, pay for your POS hardware upfront. Otherwise, look into equipment financing to help you cover the costs of the restaurant hardware you need in your establishment.

Payment Processing Cost

You must use Toast’s payment processor, and you’ll get a custom payment processing rate unless you purchase a Starter Kit, which includes hardware and fixed payment processing fees.

That fixed fee ranges from 2.49% plus $0.15 per transaction (Core plan) to 2.99% plus $0.15 per transaction (Quick Start Bundle plan.) If you add online ordering to the Quick Start Bundle plan, you’ll pay an extra 0.40% per transaction, whether the order is placed online or in person.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Toast requires a minimum 2-year contract that includes a processing contract (you cannot use an outside processor with Toast so you are limited to using Toast Payments) and has an early termination fee. Make sure you closely read your contract to make sure you understand all the terms and fees.

When To Choose Toast POS Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Toast to sell gift cards if you want to:

  • Allow customers to redeem gift cards online, at self-serve kiosks, at the register, and at tables
  • Allow customers to send gift cards via text or email
  • Allow restaurant servers to look up a gift card by a customer’s contact information
  • Combine a very customizable loyalty program with your restaurant gift card program

We recommend an alternative such as Square For Restaurants if you’re looking for a completely free POS system with lower payment processing costs, and Clover if you like Toast’s proprietary POS hardware but want to choose your own payment processing provider.

Get Started With Toast POS

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Shopify POS: Best For Multichannel Retail Sellers

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.3

Ease Of Use4.9

Features3.9

Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.4

Pricing

Starts at $29/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$0-$500+

Pros

  • No additional cost to accept gift cards
  • Multiple options for gift card sales & redemption, including social media
  • Physical, digital, & printed paper gift cards
  • Customers can add gift cards to Apple Wallet

Cons

  • Cards are not reloadable
  • Transaction fee to use a payment processor other than Shopify Payments
  • Can’t let customers choose a custom gift card amount

shopify egift card example

Shopify QR code gift card on a smartphone.

Why We Chose Shopify POS For Multichannel Retail Sellers

We believe that Shopify POS provides a strong retail gift card program for no added fee that works well with Shopify eCommerce stores and in-person sellers. Physical and digital Shopify gift cards use QR codes, and eGift cards can be added to a digital wallet for easy redemption at the register. Customers can also redeem Shopify gift cards on your other online channels that use the Shopify checkout, such as a Facebook store, or Pinterest, or using a "Buy" button on your WordPress or Squarespace website.

Shopify POS Pricing

Shopify POS Plans Price  When To Use
Basic $39/month ($29/month billed annually) If you have a growing eCommerce business with occasional in-person sales
Shopify $105/month ($79/month billed annually) If you want additional reporting and reduced payment processing fees
Advanced $399/month ($299/month billed annually) If you want advanced reporting and additional discounts on processing fees
Shopify Plus $2,000+/month If your high-volume or large business needs an enterprise-level solution

For more retail features, such as BIPOS (buy online, pick up in-store) and unlimited staff accounts, you’ll need the $89/month/location Shopify Pro subscription, which you can add to an eCommerce plan.

Alternatively, Shopify now offers its POS Starter app and POS Pro apps as separate products. This means that you don’t need a Shopify eCommerce subscription to sell in person and with a simple online store (not a full custom Shopify online store).

The POS Starter app without an eCommerce subscription costs $5/month, but Shopify charges a high transaction fee for sales that signing up for an eCommerce plan (all eCommerce plans come with the POS Starter app for free) is a better solution for everyone except very small retailers. The POS Pro app without the eCommerce plan is good for the majority of in-person sales.

Your payment processing rate decreases on higher-level plans. Businesses with larger transaction volumes should strongly consider upgrading to save money in the long run.

Additionally, while there are many free Shopify apps on the company’s app market, some require you to sign up for a paid subscription.

Shopify POS Small Business Gift Cards Features

Shopify POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support Supports multiple inventory locations
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Shopify POS is fully integrated with all your in-person and online sales channels, making this POS especially useful for retailers and creatives who sell on several platforms.

Shopify’s best gift card sales features include:

  • Sell gift cards on any of your available sales channels, just like you would sell on any products
  • Redeem gift cards on Shopify POS, Shopify website, Facebook store, Facebook Messenger, or using a “buy” button on an external website, social media post, etc.
  • Sell gift cards as part of a larger gift package (such as a book gift package using a bookstore POS system)
  • Issue promotional gift cards and refund gift cards
  • Print out gift certificates using your own printer, so you don’t have to buy gift cards if you don’t want to
  • Customers can add gift cards to Apple Wallet

Also, Shopify has over 8,000 software integrations available for you to create your own custom solution. Shopify integrates with several gift card software apps such as Gift Up!, Rise.ai, Growave, and Govalo if you like Shopify’s strong multichannel retail sales capabilities but want more gift card functions than Shopify provides.

Hardware Cost & Options

Shopify POS hardware

Shopify POS register stand with a connected card reader.

The Shopify app itself runs on most phones and tablets and there are many Shopify hardware options available for iPad registers.

The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader, which is the bare minimum requirement for taking card and mobile phone payments, starts at $49.

In October 2023, Shopify released the new $349 countertop Shopify POS terminal which is a little larger than a smartphone, includes a built-in card reader, and can attach to the $149 Shopify POS tablet stand. It is similar to the Clover Flex and Square Terminal in design and function.

The most expensive hardware is the $459 POS Terminal Countertop Kit for USB-C Tablets. It includes the Shopify POS tablet stand and the countertop terminal.

Payment Processing Cost

Shopify Payments payment processing rates range from 2.4% to 2.7% for in-person transactions, depending on your plan. Online transactions range from 2.4% + $0.30 to 2.9% + $0.30, depending on your plan. You can use an outside payment processor with Shopify POS, but you’ll pay an extra transaction fee between 0.5% and 2% to do so.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Shopify plans are month-to-month with no contract, but you can receive a discount by committing to a one- or two-year plan. It’s worth noting that Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) is a third-party payment processor like Square, which means you will not have a traditional merchant account.

When To Choose Shopify Small Business Gift Card Software

Choose Shopify to sell gift cards if you want to:

  • Sell gift cards on several online sales channels and in person
  • Allow customers to add gift cards to their Apple Wallet for easier gift card redemption
  • Issue promotional gift cards as part of marketing campaigns
  • Use a high-quality eCommerce site and POS system for your business

We recommend Square as a retail sales alternative if you want free synchronized multichannel sales software. We recommend Clover if you’re looking for a more well-developed handheld POS terminal.

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

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Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.

80+

Vendors evaluated

65+

Attributes assessed per vendor

20+

Features weighed

30+

Combined years of experience


5 Tips To Sell More Gift Cards For Small Business

Here are a few tips to sell more gift cards:

  • Customize Your Gift Cards: Custom gift cards help you build your brand. To make custom gift cards for your business, choose a gift card system that allows you to upload custom images for digital and physical gift cards.
  • Advertise Your Gift Cards: Make sure your customers know you offer gift cards and how to buy them. You can advertise your gift cards through social media posts, email marketing, in-store signage, and more.
  • Combine With Promotions: Some promotional ideas involving gift cards include selling gift cards at a discount ahead of the holidays or offering free gift cards as a loyalty benefit for your top-spending customers.
  • Offer Multiple Gift Card Options: Some customers prefer digital gift cards, while others prefer physical gift cards. To maximize your gift card sales, offer both options. Customers should also ideally have multiple gift card redemption options (in-store, online, social media, etc.).
  • Optimize Your Website: Your business website should be a channel where customers can both purchase and redeem gift cards. Make sure it’s easy to buy your gift cards online and offer a good array of products customers can purchase there.

The more you promote your gift cards and the easier you make it for customers to purchase and redeem them, the more gift cards your small business will sell.

Which Gift Card System Is Right For Your Small Business?

The best gift card system for your small business should allow you to sell gift cards both online and in person and have affordable payment processing rates for your sales volumes.

Make sure to negotiate a good merchant agreement to make sure you’re getting a fair payment processing price and figure out your POS costs in advance to make sure you can afford your system.

FAQs: Gift Card System For Small Business

How do I create a digital gift card for my small business?

To create a digital gift card for your business, choose a POS software that offers eGift card sales features. Then, when customers pay for a digital gift card, they’ll get a gift card code sent to their phone or email address.

What is the difference between a gift certificate and a gift card?

Gift cards typically have a barcode, QR code, or digital code connected that is used for identification and balance tracking purposes. Some gift cards are also reloadable. Gift certificates, on the other hand, sometimes have a barcode on them, but are more often a paper with an amount written on it that you can’t monitor digitally.

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Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Senior Staff Writer
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
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