Differences Between Gift Cards and Vouchers

Differences Between Gift Cards and Vouchers

Gift cards and vouchers have helped revolutionize buying and selling digitally. They have to a large extent minimized the need to carry around physical cash while making purchases or giving out gifts.

Despite their numerous benefits, many people cannot tell the difference between gift cards and vouchers. And for most older folks, they still struggle with why they should use a piece of plastic with numbers and letters instead of their regular cash notes.

In this article, we shall be telling the differences between Gift Cards and Vouchers clearly. We will also highlight some more benefits that they both have.

What Is A Gift Card?

A gift card is a pre-loaded card with monetary value. It is used just like a physical or virtual debit card for specific retailers or brands. You can purchase them with a predetermined amount, and the recipient can use them to make purchases within the designated store or network. They come in two main types including 

  • Open-loop gift cards - e.g. Visa gift cards, are accepted at a wide range of merchants that display the relevant brand logo. Think of them as portable cash with specific brand limitations. 
  • Closed-loop gift cards - These are tied to a specific store or group of affiliated stores. For example, a Starbucks gift card can only be used at Starbucks locations.

What Is The Difference Between Physical Gift Cards And eCodes

Gift cards come in two main formats: physical plastic cards and digital eCodes. Both offer the same purchasing power, but their delivery and usage differ:

  • Physical gift cards are traditional plastic cards that can be wrapped and gifted like any other tangible present. They require the recipient to visit the store in person to swipe or present the card at checkout. Good examples are AMEX gift cardsSteam gift cardsAmazon gift cardsTarget gift cards etc
  • eCodes are digitally delivered codes sent via email or text message. They can be instantly added to the recipient's online account or mobile wallet for convenient online or in-store redemption. Good examples are Google Play gift cardsVisa gift cardsApple gift cards and more.

Note that on FlipEx both physical and eCode gift cards can be converted to Naira securely and at the best rates possible


What Is a Voucher?

Unlike gift cards, vouchers offer discounts or specific deals on purchases instead of pre-loaded value. They come in various forms, such as:

  • Promotional codes: Alphanumeric codes are entered at checkout to receive a percentage discount or a fixed amount of the purchase.
  • Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGOF) deals Vouchers offer a free extra item upon the purchase of another.
  • Category-specific vouchers: Discounts applicable only to specific product categories or departments within a store.


Clearing The Confusion: Gift Cards vs. Vouchers

The terms "gift card" and "voucher" are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion about their distinct offerings. Here's why understanding the difference between gift cards and vouchers is crucial:

Common confusion could be seen in terminology as both terms can signify a monetary benefit for purchases but this blurs the lines. Their limited scope also contributes to the confusion as some stores offer vouchers in the form of gift cards which further muddies the waters.

The differences between these two are properly explained below:


Differences By Features

Gift Cards are sometimes reloadable, have expiration dates, attract purchase fees, and allow for balance checks.

Vouchers on the other hand are usually single-use and have limited validity periods and specific redemption terms.


Specific Differences Between Gift Cards And Vouchers 

Key differences between gift cards and vouchers are highlighted in the following aspects:


Gift cards can act as prepaid currency for purchases while vouchers offer discounts or specific redemptions but cannot be used to cover the full purchase value.


Gift cards have a wider range of uses depending on their type. Open-loop gift cards like MasterCard or Visa gift cards can be used across a wide variety of merchants to pay for travel expenses, dinner, entertainment, shopping and utility bills. The closed-loop gift cards are targeted to specific brands and satisfy special needs. They also come with rewards and incentives.

Vouchers, on the other hand, are often restricted to specific products, services, or retailers and have a lesser range of uses.


Gift cards are more flexible in their use and often come reloadable for future use. Vouchers, unfortunately, are less flexible, typically single-use with specific terms and conditions.


When it comes to value, gift cards represent the exact pre-loaded monetary value; while vouchers offer discounts or specific value depending on the type. Check out our support team for more information on the value of your gift cards.

Finding the Sweet Spot Between Gift Cards and Vouchers

Here's a breakdown of key factors to consider when making your choice between gift cards and vouchers:

  1. Know your recipient: Gift cards are ideal for the indecisive shopper or those with diverse tastes because they offer freedom and flexibility. Vouchers are best gifts for people who you understand their interests as they add a personal touch to discounts on purchases.
  2. Flexibility matters: Gift cards offer full or partial redemption, while vouchers are often more restrictive with specific conditions and expiry dates. Choose flexibility if your recipient values options, or targeted savings if you know their desires.
  3. Value comparison: Gift cards offer upfront value, while vouchers present potential savings depending on the discount and their shopping habits. Compare savings with desired items to ensure the best value.

Final Thoughts

In tackling the differences between gift cards and vouchers, understanding the recipient and occasion is key. Gift cards provide open-ended value and choice, while vouchers offer targeted savings and personalization. 

Analyze, weigh the factors, and choose the perfect gift to truly delight your recipient. 

Thinking of trading your gift cards? FlipEx helps you convert gift cards to Naira and guarantees the best rates.


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