4 tips on choosing a processor for your gift card program
Gift cards are a great way to grow revenue and encourage customer loyalty, among other benefits. If you're interested in implementing a custom gift card program you'll need a payment processor. There are several gift card processors available, so here are a few things to look for when narrowing down your list.
What they can do for you.
There is more to a gift card solution than simply producing cards, although that's important. Gift card processors should be able to manage your program, from beginning to end. That means planning, forecasting, order management, design, inventory and fulfillment services.
What features they support.
You might have grand plans for your business gift cards and your credit card processor should be able to support those plans. If you want to offer customers a reloadable gift card and a web-based system to reload, deactivate or check the balance on those cards in real time, be sure your card processor can support those capabilities.
What about eCards; the ability to link your gift card program with your loyalty program or the ability to use your gift card during card-not-present transactions? If you have multiple companies under your belt, can your gift card processor develop cards to carry gift balances for multiple merchants? Maybe you want your gift cards available in more places than your store or website. Can your gift card processors support different distribution channels?
Capacity is another concern. Can your processor support you on a local, regional and national level? When you evaluate gift card processors be sure to think ahead. You'll want a partner who can support your program as it grows.
Level of customization.
Some gift card processors offer design support services while others only offer pre-designed card templates. If you have in-house design services then finding a partner to do this might not be a concern for you. If you need support be sure to evaluate available design services to make sure they meet your needs.
Are their solutions compatible with your technology?
Can your gift card processor's cards be integrated into your current payments operations (e.g. POS or terminal system) or will you need to reconfigure to support gift cards? If you need to purchase additional hardware or software, what's that going to cost you?
What level of reporting they provide.
Most any processor can produce sales reports, but can they generate transactional histories, organization reports, card inventory reports, dormancy fee reports, and order fulfillment reports.
How much it will cost you.
Be sure you understand all of the costs involved. Different processors charge different fees for different services, and costs may include setup fees, inventory fees, monthly fees and transaction charges.
When it comes to gift cards, your processor can make all the difference whether your program soars or crashes, so be sure to evaluate them carefully.