Gift Certificate Wording 101


Unless you’ve already made several gift certificates, gift certificate wording is probably an unknown territory at the moment. Bare with us, as it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few mandatory elements and some optional elements you want to include in a gift certificate. In addition to these standard elements, you might consider a few legal mentions to include in order to force certain restrictions on the usage of your gift certificate.

What You Should Definitely Include

  • certificate value (in dollars or your local currency) or service provided. the certificate value is the most sensitive element of the gift certificate. In particular, you don’t want for the customer to easily change the amount! So it’s better to have it printed rather than manually written.
  • certificate serial number. A serial number is important for multiple reasons, in particular to fight against fraud and to keep track of gift certificates you’ve issued. By giving every gift certificate a unique number, you can easily verify that the gift certificate has not been modified when the customer wants to redeem it. For example, you can have a tracking log associating gift certificate numbers with their value, issuance date and customer name.
  • name of your company
  • recipient’s name

What You Might Include

  • purchaser’s name: probably a mandatory element for most gift certificates!
  • personal message: this is a very nice way to personalize a gift certificate, by giving the possibility to the purchaser to add a custom message on the gift certificate.

What You Should Include (Just In Case)

  • certificate expiration: this might not be legal in your state/country. Check your legal regulations or an attorney for this. If it is legal, you might want to include a certificate expiration date, to avoid having gift certificates out in the open for years. One year from now is a good default. Mention “expiration date: 2012-03-17″.
  • restriction for a certain type of service/product: if you want to offer a gift certificate for a specific service, mention “valid only for service X” or “to be used towards the purchase of X”.
  • no cash value. This will protect you against customers willing to redeem the certificate for cash (people will try to do that!). Mention “no cash value” or “not redeemable for cash” on the certificate.
  • non-transferability: if you want the gift certificate to be redeemed only by the person whose name is mentioned on the certificate, mention “non-transferrable” on the certificate.

Now you know what elements are important to come up with for a good gift certificate wording, so work your way through a gift certificate template and mix and match the different elements until you’re satisfied with the result!

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Source by tom villepin