Using Gift Cards with Apple Pay and Google Pay
Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay (formerly Android Pay) have grown in popularity because they eliminate the need to carry physical credit cards. What about those bulky gift cards that take up just as much room in your wallet? Can they be added to a mobile wallet?
This largely depends on the company that issues the gift card. If that company is affiliated with your mobile wallet of choice, you can upload the card’s information to your mobile wallet and use it at accepted stores. The card issuer may not be the store itself. Retailers often issue gift cards through third-party financial institutions, so you would need to see if the actual issuer was a participating bank.
Samsung Pay and Google Pay accept most gift cards, and you can upload the card data just like you would a normal debit or credit card. Apple Pay does not work with as many gift cards, so you will need to test yours in the mobile wallet to see if it works. As long as the gift card is uploaded successfully, you can use your phone to pay for items at the register. Just make sure you select your gift card, or your mobile wallet will charge a different method of payment.
If your store gift card does not work with your mobile wallet, you may still be able to store it on your phone. For instance, if you use the Walmart app, you can add a gift card to the “payment methods” section. The app will provide a scannable bar code that you can use at checkout, and your balance will change in real time.
Many gift card providers are beginning to issue mobile-friendly e-gift cards that can automatically be added to a mobile wallet. For instance, GivePay is launching a Gift Card Mall that allows customers to buy gift cards from an ATM. The gift card can be sent via text message to the recipient, and it can then be added to Apple Pay or Google Pay.