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How Much Does it Cost to Start a Custom Gift Card Program?

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Customized Gift Card Program Prices

The use of custom gift cards peaks during the holiday season. Nevertheless, your business can profit from a gift card system year-round. Gift cards are a $45 billion a year industry in the United States. If your business is not tapping into it you could be neglecting a significant additional revenue stream.

Consistently ranked as the most-wanted and most given gifts, plastic gift cards not only help redeemers get the exact items that they want. They also provide numerous benefits to businesses. This buying guide explains what they are and also gives general pricing information on starting a custom gift card program.

Custom Gift Card System Basics

Customized gift cards are appropriate for any company, regardless of its size or industry. Below you'll find some of the things to keep in mind when considering gift card programs.

  • Program types: The most common gift card program involves placing a fixed amount of money on an electronic card. However, a gift card can also be used for a number of other functions. For example, instead of having a card that expires when the funds are used up, you can also offer reloadable gift cards that may be recharged when needed. A customized gift card can also be used as loyalty cards or membership cards that reward shoppers for their continued business. Electronic gift cards can even be used to issue merchandise credit, which ensures repeat business.
  • Software and hardware: Standard gift card software activates a card through a PC or credit card terminal and tracks buyer purchases when they are made. You can also purchase additional reporting software that will help you understand shopper behavior and make future decisions about your gift card program.

  • If you plan on activating gift cards through an existing credit card terminal, you won't need additional hardware. Using a PC point of sales (POS) system, on the other hand, could require the purchase of new devices. A third option is ASP activation, which uses an internet connection to activate a gift card.

Benefits of Custom Gift Card Systems

The many advantages a custom gift card program can provide to your business include:

  • Enhance your brand: The use of business gift cards is a great way to improve your company's brand awareness. Gift cards fit inside of a wallet, essentially acting as a portable billboard for your business.
  • Increase profits: Custom gift cards can not only help you reach new customers, but statistics show that people redeeming gift cards spend an average of 20 percent more than its value. An indirect benefit of selling a plastic gift card is that some customers won't use the full amount. So-called "spillage" amounts to around $5 billion in total profits each year.
  • Learn customer behavior: Custom gift certificate card systems, by tracking customer spending and purchase habits, allow you to create targeted marketing campaigns in the future.

Custom Gift Card Program Average Costs

The prices below are designed to give you a general idea of how much it costs to start a custom gift card program. Actual prices may vary.

  • Depending on how many gift cards you order, you can expect to pay somewhere around $.75 to $1 per card. Discounts are typically offered for large purchases.
  • Gift card software (if you plan on processing cards through a PC) costs approximately $300 to $400 per location. If using your own credit card terminals for processing, you'll pay around $50 to $100 for software installation per location $.75 to $1 per card.
  • Custom gift card design costs about $50 to $100 per hour.
  • Transaction fees also figure into pricing. They cost anywhere from a few cents up to 75 cents per transaction, depending on whether you're using prepaid gift cards or loyalty/membership programs.
  • A 1 to 3 year contract costing around $20 to $40 per month is also required to keep your gift card program up and running.

Custom Gift Card Program Sample Costs

For a better understanding of custom gift card program pricing, check out what businesses nationwide paid:

  • A Kansas bank paid around $1,500 to $2,000 for 3,000 customized cards.
  • A North Carolina coffee shop paid around $3,000 for 1,000 cards plus two (2) card readers and processing at two locations.
  • A New York hospitality company $.30 per card for 10,000 gift cards.
  • A Nevada consultant paid $.30 per card.

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