Keeping track of gift card balances


When someone gives you a gift card, there are probably two key pieces of information you’ll want to remember. First, where can you use it? That’s easy, since it’s printed on the front or the back of the card itself. Second, how much money is left on the card? That’s a little more tricky, since even if the card is printed with the starting balance, it’s up to you to keep track of the balance over time.

Sure, there are ways of checking the current balance online or by calling a special phone number. But I doubt most people think about doing that before they go shopping. The simple solution is to print a little grid on the back of the card itself. There would be two columns: one for the date and one for the balance, and the first line would be pre-filled with the issue date and starting balance. Then, every time the card is used, customers or store staff could write in the date of each purchase along with the updated balance. It’s a low-tech approach, but should provide a lot of value to customers with almost no incremental cost.