Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why electronic gift cards vs paper certificates?
A: The electronic gift card has become the standard gift-giving product for successful merchants large and small. The primary reasons are:
• Increased Sales - the ability to display and promote gift cards as a distinct product allows merchants to significantly boost their prepaid gift sales
• Reloadability - merchants such as coffee shops and other frequent-purchase types of businesses may encourage their customers to reload their cards to receive extra value or discounts
• Funds Retention - unused value remains on the card to bring the customer back again to use up the balance
• Security & Time Savings - electronic tracking reduces fraud and losses associated with paper gift certificates and costly manual accounting procedures
• Multi-location tracking - from small regional chains to national franchises, an electronic card program accounts for cards purchased and redeemed at different locations and allows for monthly funds reconciliation.
Q: Is there a contract term or additional costs & fees?
A: Your Card Program agreement with eCard Systems is month to month and you may cancel at any time with no cancellation fee. There are no per-transaction fees, tech support fees, or other hidden costs. Other than the cost of your cards and/or card holders or other products you purchase, the flat monthly or yearly program cost you choose will be the only cost you pay for your program.
Q: Will my eCard program work with my iPad or Android POS system?
A: eCard Systems' gift card program is integrated with the ShopKeep and Clover POS systems. But we also have a standalone app that may easily be used alongside just about any iPad or Android system such as POS Lavu, NCR Silver, Talech or Breadcrumb. A simple 4-finger swipe toggles between the eCard app and the POS app. By running alongside the POS app, you are free to switch to a different POS at any time without changing anything about your gift or loyalty card programs.
Q: Will my eCard cards swipe through my POS credit card swiper?
A: The eCard app is compatible with most Magtek and IDTech card swipers, however it is not necessary. Your eCard cards will each have a special QR code and/or barcode on the back that is scanned directly to the app through the built-in camera or handheld scanner. This allows you to use the eCard app even when the card swiper is proprietary.
Q: Can I transfer my existing cards/balances from another provider?
A: In many cases yes. If the cards use at least a 12 digit number and you are able to obtain a clean and current card balance report from the existing POS system or processor you are using. Cards that are numbered with less than 12 digits may be used or re-encoded by us to work with the new system. Contact us for more details.
Q: How does a Gift Card work?
A: A customer asks to purchase a card or takes one from a display for purchase. The customer pays for the gift card just like they would when purchasing any other product. The merchant then swipes or scans the card through their card terminal or POS reader and activates it for the dollar amount desired. The card is immediately ready to be used at any participating store location.
Q: What is the difference between a Gift Card and a Promotional Card?
A: There is no difference in the functionality of the cards, both keep track of dollar value. But from an accounting and legal standpoint, the difference is significant. Promotional cards represent funds you are using
Q: What happens to the money when a gift card is used?
A: Unlike credit cards, a gift card transaction only keeps track of money that has already been paid. The money itself is not affected by adding or redeeming gift card value. However, for franchise merchants with multiple locations, the system will keep track of cards that are purchased at one location and redeemed at another, so that funds can be transferred (usually once per month) from the "purchase" location to the "redemption" location.
Q: Why should I keep my gift card program separate from credit card processing?
A: Credit card processors offer gift card processing primarily as a way of tying a merchant to their credit card services. Merchants are unable to easily change to a new processor because if they do, their gift cards in circulation will no longer be usable. Because a merchant may want to switch to a new credit card processor several times over the years, keeping the gift card program separate allows them to change as often as they wish without also terminating their gift card program.
Q: Will I be able to use my existing equipment?
A: eCard Systems' card programs are certified to run on various credit card terminals, iPads, PCs and other devices. However, older equipment models often do not have sufficient memory or processing capacity to run more than one application and some POS systems do not yet have compatible interfaces. If that is the case, an inexpensive standalone terminal may be used for processing gift card transactions, or an iPad for the most complete and capable functionality.
Q: Can I use a mix of iPads and terminals for the same card program?
A: Yes. You do not need to use the same equipment within a store location or across many locations. Each device is tied independently to your card program account.
Q: What type of reporting will I receive with this program?
A: Merchants have online administrative access to their card account which allows them to log in to run a variety of transaction reports such as transaction summary, detail and card balance reports. An end of day totals report may also be generated from the card terminal at the point of sale for the purpose of reconciling card sales/redemptions with POS system records.
Q: When should cards be reordered?
A: Normal card production time is 10 to 12 business days from proof approval to ship date. Allowing a few days for shipping time, you should order cards about 3 weeks prior to when you need them. 7 to 8 day rush service is also available. Larger, multi-location merchants may want to produce an extra supply of cards which we can warehouse for immediate shipment as locations order them.
Q: Are cards reloadable?
A: Yes. Gift Cards may be reloaded as many times as you wish. Often an incentive is offered to encourage customers to reload their cards. For example, you might offer to give a customer $55 worth of value for a $50 reload. Or, a free product or service with every reload. Get creative. The “add-value” feature provides many marketing opportunities to enhance customer relationships, increase purchase frequency, and build brand awareness.