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How to Encode a Gift Card

Encoding Gift Cards / Loading Value on gift cards

How do you encode / load a value on gift cards?

Gift cards and Key Tags can “hold value” in one of three ways:
  • Magstripe
  • Barcode
  • Face-Value (works like a gift certificate, with a one-time use for $10, $25, $50, etc.)


How does it work?

Either a barcode or a mag stripe when scanned or swiped has an encoded number or alphanumeric code on it, that's unique to this gift card. Now, think of that number/code as an account number, whenever your POS reads a cards account number, it then accesses that accounts info within your POS processing system's database, and in the POS database is where it's able to view and get the amount value this specific gift card holds.


Can I reload my Gift Cards after it's been used up?

Either a barcode gift card or a mag stripe gift card can technically be reloadable. While it is more common with mag stripes, it is important to understand that this function has really nothing to do with the gift card itself, but with your POS system.

Your system has to have the function of reloading money to any gift cards account number. The card itself does not actually reload. The card always keeps its same original encoded number. The account in your POS database is what gets reloaded, and when the card is swiped or scanned, by reading the cards account number, the POS system then determines if they have added funds or used funds for that account.


What info do I need to order encoded Magnetic stripe cards

If you are not sure, you will need to ask your POS provider the following 3 questions:
  • Magnetic stripe type: - Do you need a LoCo or a HiCo magnetic stripe (most probably a LoCO)
  • Track: - Which track do we need to encode on, track 1, track 2 (or in rare cases on both tracks)
  • Encoding Data: - What is the specific numbering sequence that we need to follow for encoding the mag stripe, or a specific 'starting number' if it will be consecutive/sequential (some providers have a certain number of digits required in order for their POS system to recognize the data)


What info do I need to order Barcode cards

If you are not sure, you will need to ask your POS provider the following 2 questions:
  • What type of barcode do you need (most common for plastic gift cards are type 39 or 128)?
  • The Numbering sequence required for the barcode?, It could be just a starting number or a specific numbering pattern


What format should I provide the encoding data in?

  • If its sequential numbering, just supply us with a starting number when you place the order
  • For random encoding data, we except Excel spreadsheets (.xls or .xlsx), text files (.txt), or Comma Separated Values (.csv) files.