MicroBiz Cloud comes with 'built in' Gift Cards. You can use this features with printed gift cards or even gift certificates. Since the application is cloud-based, gift cards are instantly updated whenever they are sold or used so all your stores have current information about the balance. Unlike gift card programs run by credit card companies, there are no fees or charges for using gift cards with MicroBiz Cloud. Just sell them and let your customers use them - it's all part of the software.
Ordering Gift Cards
You do not need to use any special gift card stock with MicroBiz. You can purchase the cards anywhere you like, and 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 gift card vendor the number range that they should produce for you, and then use the ID numbers printed on the Gift Cards to match the gift card range that you set up in MicroBiz as 'Active Gift Cards' (see below).
Numbering & Barcodes
Gift Cards need to have a unique number for each one sold so that you can track the initial value, attached customer and the remaining balance as the card gets used for purchases. Gift Card numbers can be up to 16 digits. We wouldn't advise you to start selling gift cards with the number '1' as 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 are thinking about encoding the Gift Card number on a plastic card with a magnetic stripe, here are a couple important points to consider:
- You will need a mag-stripe 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 processing. The integrated card reader that you purchased from our payment partner encrypts everything it reads, so the Gift Card number would come out all garbled. This is part of the security that keeps you from being the target of a credit card breach. We cannot decrypt the card read - only the credit card gateway can. This encryption helps keep you safe as a merchant and reduces the amount of work you have do to comply with mandatory credit card company security standards - but will prevent you from using stock gift cards with a mag-stripe.
- We recommend printing a human readable number on a mag-stripe card - so you can use the card if the mag-stripe gets erased.
- As a result, we think scanned bar codes are easier and do not recommend mag stripes on gift cards.
Creating a Gift Card Range
The first step in setting up gift cards is entering a Gift Card Range. A Gift Card Range is the beginning and ending number of a sequentially numbered group or batch of gift cards. To do this, go to Transactions >> Gift Cards and press the 'Add Gift Cards' button.
Gift Card Type
There are two types of Gift Card Types - Any Amount or Fixed Amount:
- Fixed Amount Gift Cards - Use this when you plan on selling cards for a fixed amount or if the amount of the card - such as $50 or $100 - is printed on the card. If you choose this option, you will have the ability to enter he fixed amount, such as $50. Once you do this, any time you sell one of these cards the system will display a $50 value for the card. If you sell multiple fixed amount cards, you can define multiple ranges, so you can sell $25, $50 and $100 gift cards.
- Any Amount Gift Cards - If you would like to be able to load variable amounts on gift cards, chose the Any Amount option. When you sell one of these cards at the register, the clerk is prompted to enter the value of the card. This lets the customer select any value to be purchased, like $65, $175 and so on.
Gift Card Range
This is the range of sequentially numbered cards that will be activated. For example, if you asked your gift card vendor to produce 100 gift cards numbered from 20001100 to 20001199, you would enter the starting and ending card numbers. The system will automatically generate a card count of the range.
After filling in the gift cards range fields, hit the Save button, you will now have a range of active Gift Cards that you can sell to your customers.
Maximum and Minimum Gift Card Amounts
Note there are additional rules in the Admin Settings to let you restrict the gift card amount minimum and maximum card value. These are defaulted to a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $1,000. If you want to change these settings go to Settings >> Advanced Settings >> Register Settings and enter the desired values.
Expiration rules for gift cards are now uncommon and some US states prohibit them. However, if you would like to set an expiration term for your gift cards, the is a setting to allow gift cards to expire on an anniversary of its issue date.
The settings for the expiration of gift cards can be found in the Store Settings. which allow you to have different gift card settings for different stores. Go to Settings >> Companies/Stores >> Stores. You can set whether Gift Cards expires, and if so, when they expire as an anniversary of the issue date. Be sure to research whether your State allows the expiration of gift cards before using this setting.
Escheat is a 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, but you will need to manually track any escheat rates and calculate the percentage the state will require you to pay them. Please be sure to research whether your store is subject to escheatment laws.
Pin or No Pin? (Coming Soon)
In the future, you will be able to create your MicroBiz Gift cards with or without pins. For the time being, we allow you to import your pin numbers in preparation of the support of pin numbers in MicroBiz.
Pins help prevent fraud - so are strongly recommended if you are selling with gift cards online on your website. That way, if 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 needs 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.
- 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.
- The card cannot be used until the order paying for the gift card is paid and shipped.
** Note: By default all cards created will be available at all locations