5 differences between standard Prepaid Cards and Gift Cards!



Did you have a birthday recently? Were you gifted a Gift Card for a store you frequently shop on? A Gift Card is one of the best gifts to give to someone on any occasion. On the same lines, there exists a Prepaid Card which is similar to a Gift Card, which can also be swiped till the balance is exhausted. So, then, what is the difference between Prepaid Cards and Gift Cards?

Here are 5 differences between standard Prepaid Cards and Gift Card:

  • Limitation on where it is used:

    A standard Gift Card can only be used in a limited number of places. Depending on the shop from where the Gift Card is purchased, it can be redeemed either at the same store or at other branches. In contrast, a Prepaid Card can be swiped anywhere at any point of sale terminal. The only precondition for using a prepaid Gift Card is that it should have some balance in it.

    Read more on how to redeem your Gift Card.
  • Balance in the card:

    A Gift Card usually can only be swiped till the balance in the Gift Card is exhausted. Once the balance is exhausted, the card is of no use. In contrast, a Prepaid Card can be used till the time it has some balance on it. This means, if the card is refilled before the original balance runs out, it can continue to be used. That does not work in case of a Gift Card, especially in code based Gift Cards that work on e-commerce websites. Since the Prepaid Card amount is regulated, it can also be given to someone to regulate their spending.
  • Expiration Dates:

    Both standard Prepaid Cards and Gift Cards have an expiration date. In both cards, the expiration date is clearly stated. Since Prepaid Cards work similar to credit cards, they have their expiration date printed on the face of the card. Store Gift Cards usually have a short expiration date, sometimes even a few days, but mostly lasting a few months. Prepaid Cards have longer expiration dates depending on the card issuer.
  • Point of purchase:

    Typically, Gift Cards can be purchased from the store that you intend to gift from. Prepaid Cards can be bought from Credit Card issuers, or even banks. This makes it easier to buy a Prepaid Card, load it with a specific amount and then give it to the intended person. Gift Cards have lesser flexibility since they have to be bought from the store. However, one point of similarity is both these cards can be bought online.
  • Fraud protection:

    Prepaid Cards are issued by a card issuer or a bank so, they typically have a few more protection mechanisms built in if the card is lost or stolen. A Gift Card doesn’t have that protection system. If the Gift Card is lost, then likely the money on it is lost.

    A Prepaid Card and Gift Card both have their uses and utilities. Depending on the purpose, you can opt for the right one for your needs.

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* Terms & conditions apply. Gift Card approvals are at sole discretion of HDFC Bank Ltd