EFTPOS Gift Cards - Pros and Cons

EFTPOS has been around for much of many of our life times, but more recently EFTPOS gift cards have entered the market, offering consumers a new age in cashless shopping and financial management.

EFTPOS gift cards are gift cards that can be used at any store in Australia with an EFTPOS terminal. They can be loaded with any amount from $10 to $999, and can be personalised with the cardholder's name in some cases. They can be used in store, but not online and not at an ATM.

Depending on who you get your EFTPOS gift card from, what's available may be different, like personalising a card with your company logo, or with a picture. They're touted as a great way to incentivise  staff, and promote your brand to clients. But, they're also a great way to give a gift that isn't limited to a particular store - again, this depends on where you buy. For example, a Westfields EFTPOS gift card can be used in any of the 8000 stories in Westfield centres across Australia.

Unique to the Australian market, these cross-store gift cards have a variety of pros and cons.   

The obvious good points about the EFTPOS cards are that you can use them pretty much anywhere that you could use a debit or credit card but at the same time this can be a negative as most of the small print says that your gift card purchase is at the retailers discretion. I'm not sure what they would say no for, but you could be stood in a queue on Christmas eve and be told you can't use it! I don't suppose that happens often, but it's written in all the small print.

Reading the FAQ on GiftCardPlanet.com.au, it seems losing your card is like losing money out of your wallet. If it's used before you're able to stop the card, you won't be reimbursed, which essentially means you don't have the same fraud protection as you would using a credit card.

Also, once the card is loaded with money, it has to be activated in 3 months and then used up within 12 months of activation, so you could run the risk of losing your money if you don't spend it all, or being forced to buy something just to use up the money on your card. As with general gift cards, this goes back to the concept of "breakage" (as covered previously on our blog) which is the driver behind what makes these cards such a lucrative offering to customers.

On the plus side, they are great to give as gift cards, because you're not limiting your recipient to where they can buy. 

You could also use an EFTPOS gift card to help with budgeting and financial management too. For example by giving your teenager a card with their allowance on it every month - when it's gone it's gone, they can't go into any debt.  A great way to make sure a weekend partying doesn't end up costing more than it should.

Once again depending on where you buy the gift card, this may or may not be a pricey way of working though. If you buy through Corporateprepaidgiftcards.com.au you don't have monthly fees, your generic gift card is free of charge and you can personalise for a fee. If you buy through Gifte.com, your generic card won't cost you anything either and they have special offers so you could pay $40 for a $50 card with a three month validity. So basically, like with everything, there's value in shopping around.

Different gift card providers may have slightly different terms and conditions, so deciding what you need is essential so that you can shop around and get something that will suit your needs, or those of your recipient.


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  • odysseus
    The fine print about retailers not accepting them is quite significant. There are a couple of common examples/exclusions to that. 1) For example, with the Westfield cards, the fine print says it is up to the merchant to accept or not. A fair number do not accept them, mostly the larger retailers. Westfield even provide a means to check on their website who do and who don't. This does change periodically. So yes, it's quite possible to be refused. 2) The more fun part is that some retailers, either due to knowledge or systems, even if they accept them, may not handle them in part. So it's fine when you get a nice new $500 card, and have a fair bit of choice. But when you have $13.85 left, you try to use it, there's not enough for the purchase, and the retailer will say they can't accept it, or can't accept it with a credit card for the balance. You might want to buy something for $300, and not want to use cash for the balance, so are stuck carrying this card around for longer and effectively unable to use it there. So then have to find somewhere else... 3) In respect of the general cards, some retailers also do not accept them. E.g. Woolworths and sister chains do not accept gift and EFTPOS cards apart from their own. So no Westfield cards, or general EFTPOS. So you have a lot less flexibility than cash, with the downside of an expiry date and usage restrictions, and not really any upside in a general sense.