Gift Cards vs Virtual Cards: What Are Their Differences?

Ever wondered what differentiates gift cards from virtual cards? Or you are trying to determine which of the two is best to serve your purpose. I’d say you have come to the right place.

This post will throw more light on the major differences between a gift card and a virtual card. And what their applications can be like. You should read through.

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ALSO READ: Get a Virtual Dollar Card in Nigeria on These Platforms.


We’ll be taking a look at the meanings of both forms of cards.

What Are Gift Cards?

A Gift Card is a prepaid, stored-value money card that can be used payments and purchases, as an alternative to cash. To be clear, they are usually only redeemable through purchases from retailers and can be used to withdraw cash.

Gift cards vs virtual cards
Gift Cards vs Virtual Cards: Spotify Gift Cards

What is a Virtual Card?

A Virtual Card is an online card that isn’t physically issued by a bank or card provider. But just like physical cards, they can either be credit or debit cards. Virtual cards can be used to carry out almost all kinds of transactions just like physical cards.

Gift Cards vs Virtual Cards

There are a couple of points of difference between gift cards and virtual cards. Here are some below:

1. Physicality: Gift cards can either be virtual or physical. Virtual cards, on the other hand, cannot be physical. Virtual cards, as the name implies, only exist virtually and don’t have a physical presence.

2. Versatility: Gift cards are usually restricted to certain platforms or retail stores. That is, you can only use them in stores or on physical POS machines. While virtual cards can only be used to pay for almost everything online and on almost any platform.

3. Time Limitation: While most gift cards have time limitations, and can’t be used after that time is passed, virtual cards can be used continually as long as money is added to the card.

4. Support for Cash: Some ATMs support cardless withdrawals to be made from a virtual card. Which means virtual cards support cash withdrawals. Gift cards, on the other hand, do not support and cannot be used to withdraw cash from Automated Teller Machines.

5. Ease of Gifting: Gift cards can be easily given as, well, gifts. They are not required to be tied specifically to a person’s name, address, and other information. Virtual cards (since they are normal credit or debit cards) have to be tied to a particular person. Hence, can not be gifted easily.

These are a couple of differences between gift cards and virtual cards. They serve different purposes, can’t be used interchangeably, and should not be mixed up.