Gift cards and their varieties: how to create, issue, and sell

Creation and usage of gift cards

Do you, like us, find gift cards to be a great way to attract customers? If yes, we have a ready-made tool for you. You’ve seen plastic or paper gift cards. And we can offer you a more convenient alternative.

In this article, we explain how you can issue, distribute, and process gift cards with the inCust system.

The gift card can be issued in one of the following forms:

  1. Coupon. The type of this coupon is “Check Modifier”, which makes available a discount for a certain amount.
  2. Certificate. The type of this coupon is “Certificate”. In this case, funds are credited on a bonus points or goods customer account. 
  3. External coupon. In this case, a customer shows the code, which is recognized by the cash register system or by the cashier.
  4. Prepaid certificate. It can be used as a gift card for a product or service, in the inCust system it’s called “prepaid certificate”.

Let’s look at settings and features of every form in detail. 


A gift card in the form of a coupon for a certain discount is used when a customer can use it in whole. Such a gift card is a regular coupon that gives you a certain discount. 

Example: a customer wants to buy a product for $100, she has a gift card for $50. With this gift card, she needs to pay only $50. If she takes a product for $30 and uses a gift card for $50, then she will have to pay nothing ($0) – this certificate is considered a discount, but there will be no remainder.

How to set up: to create a series of such coupons, you need to go to the “Coupon Series” section in the Business Control Panel and create a coupon of “Check Modifier” type. This coupon should refer to the rule that describes the modification of the check – getting a discount for a certain amount. When using this coupon, a cashier selects a customer account, then chooses a prepaid certificate from the customer, and the check is immediately updated with the specified discount.

How to issue: The system administrator can create coupons in the Business Control Panel (working with a coupon series). Generated coupons can be printed or given to customers as a number or a link. A customer can put the coupon into their digital wallet by following the link or by scanning the coupon code with the inCust mobile application for customers.

Also, an administrator of the business can issue a coupon for one customer or a group of customers; they will receive a message about the issued coupon through the chosen communication channels.

It’s possible to set up rules for automatic coupon issuance according to the transaction rules. For example, you can make a “Gift card for $50” product in the E-shop in the inCust mobile application for customers. Then you can make a rule that automatically issues a coupon to the customer when she is buying a product. You can do this in the “rules for the loyalty program”. The customer also receives a message with the coupon number issued to her and will see it in the mobile application for customers.

Also, you can create a paid coupon – the customer will receive a coupon by “paying” for it from a certain customer account – and publish a link to the coupon series in news or a mailing list. For example, it can be a “get a gift card for $50 for 500 bonus points” offer. To implement this scenario, in a coupon series, you need to set the price – the coupon value.

How to use:
A cashier uses the gift card as a regular coupon in the inCust Terminal application or in a cash register software (if it is integrated with the inCust system).


This type of gift card assumes that you want to allow customers to spend funds equal to the value of the gift card in parts. Here is how the scheme works: when a customer uses the certificate, the funds are credited to the customer account (goods or bonus points). Next, the customer can pay for goods and services from this account and can use all or part of the values available on the account.

How to create: In this scenario, you use a special type of coupon – Certificate. When a customer uses a certificate, the bonus point or goods customer account is replenished with the number of benefits (bonus points, goods) defined by the certificate. And this amount can be used to make a payment (if it’s a goods account) or when redeeming as a discount (if it’s a bonus points account).

How to issue: Similar to the “coupon” method, described above.

How to use:
– A customer can use a certificate in the inCust mobile application for customers. After using a certificate, the customer receives funds on the customer account (goods or bonus points)

– A cashier can use the customer’s certificate in the inCust Terminal application or in a cash register software (if it is integrated with the inCust system).

External coupon

Sometimes, it is necessary to automatically give a customer some code that the cash register software understands. It can be a coupon from another business, or a coupon issued earlier. Such code will constitute a gift card; we call it “External code”.

When a new coupon is issued, the inCust system automatically receives an external code from the list created in advance and “insert” into the coupon. The customer tells this external code to the cashier.

How to create: To create this type of gift card, create a special type of coupon series: “External Coupon”.

When creating such a coupon, import the list of codes from the cash register software or other source into the coupon series. The code from the list will be automatically issued every time a coupon is created.

How to issue: Similar to the “coupon” method described above. 

How to use:
– A customer tells the cashier the external code that she sees in the coupon.

– A cashier can use an external coupon in the Terminal app instead of the customer.

Prepaid certificate

Prepaid certificate is a kind of wallet (digital and anonymous) that can contain an unlimited number of accounts, each containing some benefits. So, you can credit the amount of your gift card to a specific account.

This mechanic is more complex than the ones described above and is used when you have a list of different goods or services in your gift card. For example, you can put five visits to the pool and two cups of coffee into such a certificate.

How to issue: In the Business Control Panel or using the API

How to use: To confirm redeeming of the service, the Terminal application is used in the “Operations with prepaid certificates” mode. Also, a third-party cash register system can use such certificates using the API.