Why do Gift Cards codes not work if they haven’t been purchased but the moment they are purchased, the code that is on them activates?


Why do Gift Cards codes not work if they haven’t been purchased but the moment they are purchased, the code that is on them activates?

In: Technology

When you purchase a gift card it creates an entry in database that connects the gift card number with the value that was purchased. Until that happens it will return as invalid/inactive.

To discourage theft. Gift cards are small, high value items. If they just had value without having to be activated, you could walk into a store, shovel tens of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards into a bag and run out in seconds. Or more stealthily, easily pocket thousands of dollars worth of them.

By making them worthless unless someone activates them, there’s no reason to steal them.

Edit: Plus, much easier on the retailer. If I’m a store and want to stock $10,000 worth of gift cards, I don’t need to pay thousands of dollars upfront for these cards which may or may not get sold.

They are like debit cards, but they stvrt with $0 in them. If you st”al one, you can’t spend it, because $0 is insufficient funds. When you “buy it”, they deposit money in the account.

I’m not entirely certain that it was directly related however, these “new” style gift cards you describe weren’t always the norm and seemed to become more prominent after World of Warcraft was it’s most popular and the “old” style cards (ones that were active without purchase) were used for game time and often swiped as they were not secured in most retail stores.

You spend $20 to purchase a $20 gift card. Store loads the $20 onto the card.

The card now has $20 in it.

Stealing a card would leave a card worth nothing, since no money has been loaded into it.

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