There are THREE ways to make your own gift cards. Print custom gift cards on-demand, customize egift cards or print egift cards at home.
When gift cards first came out, you could only buy them from the issuing store or restaurant. Then we got the gift card kiosk which allowed us to buy gift cards for other stores while shopping at our preferred stores. Then online gift cards came into the picture, then personalized gift cards became an option and so forth. As the popularity of gift cards continues to grow, so does the rolling snowball of ways in which we can buy and present them.
Now people want to know if they can print their own gift cards. The answer is yes, and sort of.
How to Print Your Own Gift Cards
When people ask me if they can “print” their own gift cards, I often have to clarify. Do you mean that you want to PRINT a gift card at home like a printable gift card holder? Or do you mean that you want to PRINT a physical gift card like you buy at the store. The first comes out on paper, the second comes out on plastic.
I’ll explain three ways I know of to “make your own gift card” to see if that answers the question.
Option 1: Create Your Own Custom Plastic Gift Cards
Custom gift cards are plastic gift cards that are personalized and printed on demand. Unlike the gift cards at your favorite merchant (think of the gift card rack next to the checkout line), these gift cards aren’t printed until a customer orders one.
With a print-on-demand gift card, you select the image you want to use, add a custom message and choose the dollar amount as well.
TRUE STORY. I was a customer of Giftcards.com before I became the spokesperson BECAUSE of these custom printable Visa gift cards and Mastercard gift cards. This is my go-to gift card for thank you coach, graduation gifts and more because the recipients always (ALWAYS!) get a big smile and sometimes even a laugh. It’s the only gift card you’ll ever see passed around a party for everyone to look at. (And I know, because I give a lot of gift cards.)
BUY NOW: Custom Gift Card.
Option 2: Send a Custom eGift Card
The next best way to customize and make your own gift card is to send a digital egift card. You won’t have a physical gift card to present in person, but you can send these quickly and easily to anyone within the United States. And I love that you can add a photo, custom text and other personalizations. If you aren’t going to be with the person physically, then an egift card is really the most convenient way to gift for everyone.
One of my favorite things about egift card delivery is that these cards can be sent almost immediately, but they can also be scheduled for a future date. I love this feature for birthdays, holidays, weddings and more.
BUY NOW: Custom eGift Cards.
Option 3: Print an eGift Card at Home
Although egift cards are typically delivered via email, text or social media, some companies give customers the option to print egift cards at home. I like this option because it provides a way for last-minute shoppers to buy the gift cards they want but still deliver them in person, if desired.
In all honesty, every egift card can be printed at home–they just don’t all look like gifts. For example, you could order an egift card and have it delivered to yourself. From there, you would click the link inside the email or text to claim the gift code. You can print this code on your printer, but it might look more like a receipt than a present.
When I reviewed egift cards from top merchants, I found the following stores and restaurants will let you print gift cards at home with a “presentation” look:
I have printed egift cards at home, then taken a little care to dress them up with a cardstock backing or decorations such as decorative tape or other embellishments. I also sometimes deliver these gift cards with coupons I find or other ways to save. This shows the recipient that I may have purchased the egift at the last minute, but I most certainly did it with intention.
You might also put a printed e-gift card in a nice envelope or deliver it with a homemade treat.
Another Option: At-Home Activation
If you are habitually needing the ability to activate and present gift cards in person at that last-minute, then you might also try at-home activation. Stores like American Eagle have this function on their website, but you have to get the cards from the store. CardNow, on the other hand, lets you keep a stack of gift cards at home that you can activate with an app when needed.
In this blog post, I share some ways I’ve seen at-home gift card activation work. Check that out for more ideas.
The type of printable gift card you’re looking for really depends on your needs.
If you want to print and ship a gift card directly to the recipient–without ever touching it yourself–then go for a custom, print-on-demand gift card. If you’re looking for a gift card you can print at home because you don’t have time to run to the store, then send an egift card instead or print an egift card yourself. Either way, you’ll get the opportunity to personalize the card with a message, a dollar amount of choice and possibly even a photo.
Happy Gift Carding!
~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend