Who'd want to "reload" a gift card?

I have a gift card that says I can reload it for any amount. (It’s from Best Buy, FWIW, though I’ve seen similar things on gift cards from other stores.) And I can’t figure out why anyone would want to do this. What would be the point?

You have a $25 gift card. You spend $23.50. Do you really want to lug around a $1.50 gift card, or would you rather slap on $48.50 that you have now, and know you will eventually be spending in that place in the future anyway?

No, because then I’m forced to spend the money there. I’d rather lug around the $1.50 card and be free to spend the other $48.50 anywhere.

No one is forcing you to reload it. It just says that you can. I’m just giving the only instance I can think of that makes sense. Not that it makes much sense, but that’s another discussion.

If you knew you NEEDED to spend an amount of money at a certain gift card offering store, why not reload the gift card while you were solvent, so that you knew you had that amount of money available, rather than having to put off the purchase and maybe not being able to make the necessary purchase because you had, say, an unexpected car problem come up.

Again, not the greatest logic in the world, but logic nonetheless.

Target has the only good implementation of reloadable gift cards I have seen. They have a kind of card that comes with a keytag attached. One person gets the card; the other gets the keytag. The card can be reloaded either by using the card or by using the keytag. They market it as a tool for parents with college kids to make sure that the money sent to them gets spent somewhere where they at least sell necessary items, instead of in bars, &c.

Also, at work, we use them to issue store credit. When a customer exhausts the balance on a giftcard, we keep it and use it later when another customer returns something without a receipt. This saves us a little on the cost of business, cause we don’t have to use a brand new card.

You can reload a Starbucks card so you don’t have 900 entries on your credit card for every coffee you get. In Canada, you can reload your Chapters gift card and then use it for online purchases if you are a person who doesn’t use credit cards. It’s probably not a lot of people who do that, but I did it once.

A lot of gift cards in Canada come from Giftex (I think that’s what it’s called) and they probably use the same technology whether it’s useful to anyone or not.

Yeah…I go to Starbucks a couple times a week. I prefer not to use the cash I have, so, I reload my card.

I reload my Starbucks card when I go to the coinstar machine to redeem my loose change. If you load a card, they don’t charge you a fee.

I keep a WalMart gift card to use to buy gas at WM. On my way out I just add 15 or 20 dollars to it. I fill up my car and put the card away for next week. If there is $5 or so left on the card, I just add less money the next week.

If you pay by credit card at Starbucks, do you need to sign the receipt? If so, that would be another advantage of using gift-cards – faster transactions.

I’ve done this a few times. I had a credit card a few years ago, but I haven’t since then. I rarely purchase things online, and usually use PayPal if I do. I don’t order if they don’t take PayPal.

However, Chapters online takes gift cards. So if I know I’m going to buy something online, I’ll buy a gift card, or reload one I already have.

At the starbucks here you only need to sign if it’s over $50

Wal-mart has these too, except for the cool keytag thing. That’s pretty neat.

My daughter always reloads her WalMart gift cards. She’ll wait till she has a couple hundred dollars on them, then she’ll go on a ‘spree’ online to buy DVDs and/or video games that she wants.

Using the gift card at their gas station saves you 2 or 3 cents per gallon, so that’s definitely a case where it makes sense to keep reloading it.

Sometimes another person is paying the bill, and walking away with a free reloaded giftcard doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Also if you are planning to go there many time (like the starbucks posts, though I don’t know why anyone would actually buy their burnt coffee), you can reduce the number of CC transactions. Also if you are a bit enbarassed by charging a small amount, lets say only $7.49 for a double latte reverse half calf verte, it is easier to use a gift card.

At rehearsal a few days ago, the director wanted a Jamba Juice, so he sent someone there with a gift card. I don’t know if it was reloadable, but I’m guessing it was. This just saved them both the trouble of dealing with cash and change. She left with his card, and returned with his card and his drink. Simple.