Discover how to make the most out of your supermarket gift card
Gift cards are a popular way to say thanks to the people who know what they want in a present. However, gift cards come with terms and conditions that you’ll need to pay attention to. We have a look at how gift cards work, the pros and pitfalls, and put two of the most popular gift cards in Australia side by side: the Coles Myer and Woolworths gift cards.
What are the features of a supermarket gift card?
Gift cards more or less work the same. These features are common to most gift cards.:
- They expire. Most gift cards expire after a period of time after which time any remaining funds on the card are lost.
- Single-load. Most gift cards are single-load. The value of the gift card is decided at the time of purchase. However, there are some gift cards that can be reloaded with money.
- Acceptance. Some retailers have exclusions about where the product can and can’t be used. For example, you may only be able to use the card at the merchant that issued the gift card.
- Security. If a gift card is lost or stolen, there’s little chance of reclaiming the value of the card.
- Availability. Some gift cards can be purchased online, others are only available in-store.
- Online access. You can check the balance of gift cards from most major retailers online.
What should I be wary of?
There are some common traps in the terms and conditions that people looking to buy a gift card should consider:
- Do I get change? A common gift card condition is that you can’t claim any remaining money on the card as cash following a purchase. It’s worth checking whether the merchant will give change at all.
- Does it work online? Check to see whether the gift card can be used to make purchases on the internet. Some gift cards have an in-store purchases only policy.
- When does it expire? Be sure to check when the gift card expires. Up to two years is a common length of time for the product to remain valid.
- Don’t lose it. If you misplace your gift card or it’s stolen, the merchant has no obligation to honour any request for a reimbursement.
Comparing the Woolworths WISH Gift Card and Coles Group & Myer Gift Card
The Coles and Woolworths gift card range puts forward a number of similar products from Australia’s main competing supermarkets. Woolworths and Coles Group & Myer Gift Cards are purchased to be used at the respective stores and group partners:
- What can I buy? The Woolworths WISH Gift Card boasts a slightly greater range of participating retailers; however, the Coles Group & Myer Gift Card can be used at the Myer department store, which boasts a diverse catalogue of items from electronics to manchester.
- Expiry. The Woolworths WISH Gift Card will expire after 12 months whereas the Coles Group & Myer Gift Card is valid for 2 years.
- Online shopping. Another point to consider is the Woolworths WISH Gift Card can be used to shop online. The Coles Group & Myer Gift Card can only be used in-store.
- Website. Woolworths gets some points for a slick gift card website and a far greater range of gift cards available to buy online.
The main point to compare is where these cards can be used. A gift card is just a card. The real gift comes when the money on the card is redeemed for goods and services.
|Woolworths WISH Gift Card||Coles Group and Myer Card|
|Expiry||12 months||24 months|
|Min / Max Load||$5 / $500||$5 / $500|
*List of participating retailers correct: 08/01/14.
Pros and cons of using a supermarket gift card
- Choice. A gift card is a little more personal than giving cash. The recipient can choose what they want to buy from a particular merchant.
- Online facilities. It’s easy to manage your gift card and check your remaining balance. Simply visit the card issuer’s website to access the online tools.
- Expiry. A gift card is like cash, but with terms and conditions. A gift card will expire after a period of time and the value on the card will be lost.
- Acceptance. A gift card can only be used at certain shops and merchants.
These products come with a pile of terms and conditions. Gift card rules are available for everyone to see. Be sure to do your due diligence and read up about the restrictions and conditions of the gift card so you’re not throwing money away.Back to top
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between an e-gift card and a regular gift card?
An ‘e-gift card’ is a gift card you purchase online to be used online. Unlike a traditional gift card, these products are made for digital use only at participating retailers.
Why doesn’t my gift card work?
If your gift card doesn’t work, check to see whether the card is still valid first. If you’re trying to use the product in-store and you get a bad read message, check to see whether the magnetic strip on the back or card is damaged or not. If it is damaged, you may need to arrange for a replacement. This can be organised by contacting the card issuer customer service.
What if I want to return goods purchased with the gift card?
You should be able to return goods you’ve purchased with your gift card; however, return policies can vary depending on the store where the items were purchased. You will need to contact the merchant directly to enquire about their gift cards return policy.
How do I find out about the balance of my gift card?
Most gift card issuers allow you to check the balance of your gift card online. You will need to visit the gift card website and look for the option that lets you log in to your gift card account.