MicroBiz Cloud comes with 'built in' Gift Cards. You can use these with printed gift cards or even gift certificates. Since they are cloud based they are instantly updated whenever they are sold or used so all your stores and web sites have current information about the balance. Unlike Gift Card programs run by credit card companies there are no fees or charges. Just sell them and let your customers use them it's all part of the software. You can set your printed receipt to always show the card balance - you can check the card balance from the Front Register any time - no charge.
Pin or No Pin?
You can create your MicroBiz Gift cards with or without pins. Pins are advisable when pins can be used on your Magento web site. Pins help prevent fraud - so someone with a gift card numbered 40012 won't 'try and see' if gift card 40011 or 40013 are valid and have any value. When pins are used the user has to know both the gift card number and the random pin associated with it. In the example above gift card 40012 might have pin 4871 while gift card 40013 might have pin 0406.
- Only Gift Cards with pins can be used on your Magento site.
- Pins are never required in store.
- When selling a gift card with a pin in store the pin is displayed and printed on the receipt - you may want to point it out to your customer.
- When buying a gift card on your Magento web site your customer will receive the pin on their invoice.
- Gift Cards are locked and the gift card number is assigned when sold on line so the card cannot be sold twice. The card cannot be used until the on line order is paid and shipped.
Ordering Gift Cards
You can get paper, recycled card stock, plastic or recycled plastic cards with simple printed numbers, barcodes or magnetic stripes. It doesn't matter. Just tell your printer the number range to produce so the ID numbers on the Gift Cards match the ones you set up in MicroBiz as 'Active Gift Cards'.
Numbering & Barcodes
Gift Cards have to have a unique number for each one sold so we can track the value and the remaining balance as the card gets used for purchases. Gift Card numbers can be up to 16 digits and we wouldn't advise starting at '1' people would probably look at you funny if you sold them a Gift Card Numbered '1'. You can safely avoid odd looks starting at around 8 digits 10000000 and go as high as 16 digits 9999999999999999. We suggest these numbers appear on the card - front or back doesn't matter - in both human readable and barcode (scan-able) form.
- When encoding your barcode the preferred format is Code 128. Code 39 will also work if your printer can't handle Code128.
Magnetic Stripes & Swipes
If you wish you can encode the Gift Card number on a plastic card with a magnetic stripe. A couple important points:
- You will need a Magstripe reader to read these values. One built into a keyboard might be handy. It cannot be the mag-stripe reader you use with MicroBiz Cloud integrated credit card. That reader the integrated card reader you got form us encrypts everything it reads so the Gift Card number would come out all nonsense. This is part of the security that keeps you form being the target of a credit card breach. We cannot decrypt the read - only the credit card gateway can. This help keeps you safe as a merchant and reduces the amount of work you have do to comply with mandatory credit card company security standards.
- You do want to print a human readable number on the card - so you can use the card if the mag-stripe gets erased. Or so you can use the card on your web site (coming soon).
Setting Up Gift Card Ranges
Gift Card Range is the beginning and ending number for a group of Gift Cards. Assuming you asked the printer to product 100 Gift Cards numbered from 20001100 to 20001199 There are 2 kinds of Gift Card Ranges you can define:
- Fixed Amount Gift Cards - Use this when you plan on printing $50 or $100 right on the card. Set the fixed amount like $50 on the card and define the range and make it active. That's it - any time you sell one of these cards the system will store a $50 for the card. But you will have to print and define multiple ranges so you can $25,$50 and $100 Gift Cards to sell.
- Variable Amount Cards - enter the range and indicate this is a variable amount card -activate the range and you are ready to go. When you sell one of these cards the clerk is prompted to enter the value of the card. This lets the customer select any value like $65, $175 and so on. Note there are rules in the admin settings to let you restrict the gift card range minimum and maximum card value. These are defaulted to minimum $10 maximum $1000. If you want to change these settings go to Admin Settings >> General Settings >> Gift Card.
Escheat & Expiration Rules
Expiration Rules of Gift Cards are not uncommon and some US states prohibit them. There is an default expiration term and Gift Card Ranges can be set to expire. State by state information here.
Escheat is an unpronounceable legal term used when your state is going to claim ownership of all or part of the remaining value of any Gift Cards they deem 'abandoned property'. If you live in such a state you can set the expiration to the Escheat Term and the Escheat Rate to the percentage the state will require you to pay them. At this moment (2014-3-5) the following states have escheat laws in place.