Printable Gift Certificates

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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In addition to their in-store gift certificates, many leading retailers also sell do-it-yourself gift certificates that give customers even more convenience. Instead of traveling to the physical store, purchasers need only navigate to these businesses' websites and follow the same procedures they would in-store. Choose the amount of your gift card, then fill in your own name as well as that of your recipient. After that, there's one more important step to follow.

To protect against fraud and abuse, most stores require you to write down a PIN or serial number that corresponds with the credit you've purchased. If you're printing out your own gift certificate you'll need to include this code in order to authorize your gift. The clerk at the store you've chosen will have this number cross-referenced in his or her database with your credit card number and expiration date.

When the Clock Is Ticking

Printable gift certificates are a great last-minute option for several reasons. One, there's no "cut-off" time for you, the purchaser. Should you remember the night before a big event that you've forgotten to shop for your son, daughter, niece, nephew, or sibling, there are no long lines or store hours with which to contend. Online data servers never go to sleep (routine maintenance notwithstanding), so you're always a click or two away from the checkout line, even in the middle of the night.

More importantly, a printable gift certificate gives you a physical product that you can give to your recipient. Some stores offer their credits via e-mail notification, which is fine, only it produces nothing to hold other than a printed e-mail with an attached code and specified dollar amount. With at-home certificates you can choose the color and thickness of your paper, your own gift certificate template, and any graphics you wish. In fact, a good number of stores even let you customize your certificates through their own online applications and look very professional.


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