Skip to main content

How Visa Gift Cards Differ from Store Gift Cards [Infographic]

They’re both called gift cards, but closed loop and open loop gift cards aren’t the same. Find out what’s different.

In a recent blog post, I explained “why Visa® gift cards cost more than store or restaurant gift cards.” The short answer to that question is that the load value on a closed loop gift card is guaranteed revenue because the gift card can only be used at the merchant’s business. However, open loop gift cards can be used anywhere, so the revenue stream is different. In the infographic below, you’ll find all the ways in which Visa gift cards differ from store gift cards.

comparison of visa gift cards to store brand gift cards

Consumer Takeaway

When consumers discuss gift cards, they typically lump all of the little plastic rectangles (store gift cards, restaurant gift cards, Visa gift cards, prepaid cards, reward cards, promotional gift cards, merchandise credit gift cards and more) into one, all-encompassing category. While these cards are very similar, consumers need to remember that open loop gift cards are extremely flexible–they can be used almost anywhere. But that flexibility comes at a price which includes possibly paying an activation fee, paying non-use fees if the card isn’t used within a year and being mindful of an expiration date. Store and restaurant gift cards, on the other hand, have no expiration dates or fees, but they can only be redeemed at designated locations. The good news for consumers of all types of gift cards is that the terms and conditions must be clearly disclosed at time of purchase. Finding out which rules apply to the gift card in your wallet is as simple as reading the back of the card.

If you think I missed something in comparing these plastic apples to oranges, let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Twitter (@GCGirlfriend).

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

comments powered by Disqus

The Giftcards.com Visa® Gift Card, Visa Virtual Gift Card, and Visa eGift Card are issued by MetaBank®,N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Gift Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Visa Virtual Gift Card can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa eGift Card can be redeemed online or in stores everywhere contactless Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa Reward Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Reward Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. No cash or ATM Access. The Giftcards.com Mastercard® Gift Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. The Mastercard Gift Virtual Account is issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard Gift Virtual Account can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard Gift Cards can be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. The merchants represented are not sponsors of Giftcards.com or otherwise affiliated with Giftcards.com The logos and other identifying marks attached are trademarks of and owned by each represented company and/or its affiliates. Please visit each company's website for additional terms and conditions.

Giving Good Gift Cards, Happy Gift Cards, Holiday Favorites Gift Cards, and Choice Gift Cards are curated by Blackhawk Network and issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.