While Bitcoin is growing everyday and is accepted in thousands of businesses worldwide, the vast majority of retailers around the world still only accept payment through cash or card.
However, luckily for Bitcoin users, several apps allow gift cards to be purchased with cryptocurrency, acting as a proxy between the customer and the business. This allows the privacy-conscious and cryptocurrency diehards to use Bitcoin wherever they go. Several gift card apps make purchasing gift cards with Bitcoin on the go very simple and convenient. Cointelegraph compares three major Bitcoin gift card apps: Gyft, eGifter, and Fold.
- Largest, constantly-updated selection of gift cards.
- Sleek, well-designed app. Fast, streamlined buying experience means you can use it to pay at the register without holding up the line.
- Offline-capable access to gift cards. This means that you can go into a dead zone like a shopping mall and still have access to your pre-bought cards.
- Requires one confirmation (recent change!) for Bitcoin transactions. While this isn’t usually a major problem, on high network load days (or with low transaction fees) it could hold you up a long time, which can cause terrible embarrassment if you're standing at the register with a line of other customers behind you.
- No precise amounts. If you buy something, you'll almost always have a balance left over. While this is no problem for repeat customers, it can be annoying if you want to make a one-off purchase at a store and never go back again.
- No reward points or discount. Gyft recently got rid of this feature.
- Zero-confirmation buying. This means that Bitcoin transactions go through instantly. Start-to-finish faster than Gyft.
- Reward points. You get about two cents for every dollar spent with Bitcoin (more if you're part of the "insider" program).
- Precise amounts! If you know exactly how much your purchase is going to be, you can spend only that and have no balance left over. Great if you're tight on finances or never want to go back to a place again.
- A referral program which rewards you for signing up more customers.
- Longer and more complicated checkout process. If you're trying to buy at the register, you may upset customers behind you in line by taking too long.
- Requires internet for card access. You can't get to your cards in a dead zone, so you have to get them loaded before losing data access.
- Slightly more limited selection. While eGifter supports most of the same cards that Gyft does, (and some that Gyft doesn’t) overall the selection is more limited.
- Easiest to use. Since it’s integrated into the AirBitz Bitcoin wallet, gift card purchases can be made as an additional step in one app, rather than having to use two different apps.
- Zero-confirmation transactions mean transactions are fast enough to be conducted at the point of sale.
- Highest discounts. Outside of eGifter’s insider program, Fold’s current 5% and 7% discounts (for Starbucks and Target, respectively) are the highest in the business at the present time.
- Referral program through the AirBitz app.
- At present, you must have the AirBitz wallet in order to use Fold. This is not a large sacrifice as it’s a very solid Bitcoin wallet, but some users may be inconvenienced by having to acquire a new one.
- Currently, only Starbucks and Target gift cards are available, making Fold unsuitable for a sole provider of Bitcoin gift cards.
- Cards may become unavailable as they are sold out. Due to Fold’s recent entry into the gift card market, the supply of cards is unreliable.
- Like Gyft, Fold only allows card buying in larger increments.
PRO TIP: Use all three
Unless you’re never going back to a Starbucks or Target ever again, or are really short on Bitcoin, Fold is the best option for the two stores available.
For everything else possible, use eGifter because of its zero-confirmation transactions and reward points while using Gyft for all cards available only through that platform.
Bonus: Buy with eGifter and load into Gyft. If you know what you're getting and how much it is before ordering, you can get it all set up and have Gyft's streamlined checkout experience and offline capabilities, while still profiting from eGifter's precise amounts and reward points.