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Who Invented Gift Cards?

In order to obtain a gift card a consumer will have to pay a specific amount to bank or merchant. These cards are frequently given out in the form of gifts for birthdays, for the holidays and for other events. Usually these gift card's monetary value is the recipient's to spend anyway they see fit into. Think about how these gift cards have changed throughout time and what modern consumers value from them.

Though it's quite difficult to recall the exact time gift cards weren't created until 1994. The cards were initially sold at Neiman Marcus however but they weren't promoted or seen there. Blockbuster was the one that initially introduced gift cards in their establishments because as a result of widespread paper counterfeiting.

History of Gift Cards:

The history of gift cards from The Big Money is a very interesting chronicle like how they started proliferated like a virus and contaminated all cherished gift giving customs. Gift cards were originally sold by Neiman Marcus in 1994 but the company didn't fully realise their potential at that time.

So the cards got just hidden away and only offered as a novelty items. The gift card revolution truly began to start in 1995 when Blockbuster was the first retailer to started display them.

Later on the Starbucks emerged as the next major seller of gift cards in the year 2001 when they started offering multi using cards. Starbucks kept on improving their gift cards and started selling the new ones in 2001 that could be used more than once in a store. In 2019 these gift cards accounted for 41.4% of the company's sales.

Lets look into this article to know the history and evolution of gift cards.

Who Invented Gift Cards:

You’ll find it intriguing how gift cards have changed over the period of time going from paper to plastic and beyond.

From Cards To Gift Certificates:

Because gift cards have been around for so much long we occasionally do forget about its precursor which is the gift certificate. Gift certificates were originally produced by the year 1930s by some major department retailers. But do you know not everyone could access them.

Only a restricted group of customers can have access to these paper credits that were concealed behind counters via colleagues.

In the 1970s the McDonald's Christmas gift certificate program was launched, eventually which makes gift certificates a household term. Owing to the success of McDonald's program the gift vouchers were then being offered to customers by other eateries, stores and by merchants.

As you know that everything worthwhile has to end by some day. Over time the gift cards started to cause issues for major businesses. Employees found it very tedious to spend time issuing and also redeeming paper certificates. However that wasn't the only setback but also the development of coloured copies led to the issue of counterfeit gift certificates.

The retailers suffered much financial losses as a result of this kind of dishonest behaviour. A new product then quickly has hit the market to address the problem which are the gift cards that are unveiled in the middle of the 1990s.

The Creation of Gift Cards:

Smithsonian Magazine has claimed that Neiman Marcus invented gift cards. While the very well-known department store introduced gift cards first, the Blockbuster was the first to put plastic gift cards on display within their establishment.

You just have to spend your cryptocurrency or utilize your credit and debit card to buy amazing gift cards like amazon, ebay and much more. For example Crypto Gift Cards are a retailer's dream come true since they entice shoppers inside, where they often make larger purchases and spend more than the card's face value.

The Acceptance Of Visa Gift Cards:

Despite their popularity the merchant gift cards from places such as the Starbucks, Best Buy, Target and so forth are a little restrictive because they can only be redeemed at that particular location. The option to use Visa gift cards anywhere for this then Visa accepted was introduced. It also gave big businesses the chance to offer great incentives to its staff and clients.

What Remains After Gift Cards:

Will gift cards that are made of plastic become obsolete? In due of course. Plastic gift cards will eventually disappear as the electronic cards and gifting websites like GiftYa become more and more popular.

Giving experiences rather than material possessions is now the newest trend in the expanding art of gifting culture. Your trip to the museum, to the golf course or your favourite restaurant is more treasured than a material gift you open.

When colour copiers and printers were first developed, gift certificates that were being counterfeited were somehow substituted with Blockbuster gift cards. The gift card transactions for Blockbuster were first handled by Nabanco that is a Sunrise Florida company.


Gift certificates did not become widely popular until the 1970s, when McDonald's launched a campaign offering its patrons a Christmas gift voucher. Following that a lot of shops and eateries and merchants saw this trend and they started providing gift vouchers to their patrons.

Gift cards were useful at first but with the passage of time they became a nuisance as well as they took a long time to issue and redeem, there were instances of fraud and businesses as a result have lost a lot of money.

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