5 Differences Between Physical Gift Cards and Electronic Gift Cards

by Amy Nievera on September 2, 2011

Get your discount gift cards at Cardpool!

At Cardpool, our favorite discount gift card website, we offer two kinds of gift cards – physical gift cards and electronic gift cards. Physical gift cards are the standard, run-of-the-mill, gift cards we usually get as presents and prizes, the thin plastic cards we can slip into our wallet. Electronic gift cards operate nearly the same as physical gift cards but they aren’t something we can hold in our hands.

Here are 5 differences between physical gift cards and electronic gift cards.
Difference #1

  • Orders for physical gift cards take 24 hours to process and 3-7 business days for delivery through the United States Post Office.
  • Electronic gift cards take 24 hours to process and email to you. E-gift cards are the way to go if you want to order something online as soon as possible.

Difference #2

  • On the Cardpool website, electronic gift cards are specially marked. Underneath the company and value of the particular gift card, there is an orange envelope with the words “This is an Electronic Gift Card.”
  • Physical gift cards are not marked, unless specifying merchandise credit or a paper gift card.

All e-cards will have this orange notification below it.

A merchandise gift card on the top. A paper gift card on the bottom.

Difference #3

  • You can use physical gift cards both in-store and online. When using in-store, you give the gift card to the salesperson and he does his thing. When using online, you usually have to scratch off the pin and enter the card number and pin onto the website when checking out.
  • Electronic gift cards are only usable online.

Difference #4

  • Our 100-Day Purchase Guarantee means you can return physical gift cards for any reason within 100 days of your order.
  • Electronic gift cards are not returnable once the codes have been emailed to the buyer.

Difference #5

  • You can give physical gift cards as presents.
  • Electronic gift cards can be given as presents but take an extra step. While you could theoretically just hand someone the gift card code on a piece of paper or email it to him, this doesn’t always make the prettiest present. But the great thing about electronic gift cards is you can use them to purchase a gift card with your choice of design on the retailer’s website, without leaving the comfort of your home or fighting through the holiday crowds.

What are some differences you have noticed between electronic and physical gift cards? Which do you prefer? Why?

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