Differences Between Gift Card vs Store Credit On Shopify

In this article, we wil talk about the differences between gift card and store credit. These two terms could be confusing for merchant because their essence is practically the same cash that your customer can spend at your store. Understanding the difference will help you refining your loyalty program and the incentives that you give out to your customers.

Let’s dive in and we will talk all about it!

Definition and purpose of gift cards and store credit on Shopify

Gift cards

Gift cards are prepaid cards with a specific value assigned to them, typically purchased by customers for themselves or as gifts for others. They serve as a form of currency within a specific store or business, allowing recipients to make purchases up to the value of the gift card. Gift cards are often presented physically or sent electronically, containing a unique code or barcode that can be redeemed during checkout.

Store Credit

Store credit, on the other hand, is an amount credited to a customer’s account within a specific store or online platform. It is often granted as a result of a return, refund, or other transactions within the store. Store credit is not limited to a specific monetary value but represents a flexible credit balance that can be applied partially or fully towards future purchases. You can see the potential benefits of store credit when selling on Shopify here.

While both gift cards and store credit can be used to make purchases, their fundamental differences lie in their origins and intended purposes. Gift cards are primarily designed as prepaid cards for gifting or personal use, while store credit is a credit balance that serves as a payment method for future transactions within the same store.

Differences Between Gift Card vs Store Credit On Shopify

Nature of value

Gift Cards

Gift cards have a fixed value assigned to them, typically determined by the purchaser. The value is preloaded onto the card and remains constant until the card is used for purchases. The predetermined value can be chosen from a range of options or can be customized based on the customer’s preference. For example, a gift card may have a value of $25, $50, $100, or any other specific amount.

The nature of value in gift cards means that the recipient can utilize the full value of the gift card for one or multiple purchases until the balance is exhausted. They can choose products or services within the store that they wish to purchase, as long as the total cost does not exceed the available balance on the gift card.

Store Credit

Store credit, on the other hand, represents a flexible credit balance rather than a fixed value. It is not limited to a specific predetermined amount like gift cards. Instead, the value of store credit can vary depending on the customer’s transactions within the store.

Store credit is often granted as a result of returns, refunds, loyalty programs, or other promotional activities. For example, if a customer returns a product worth $50, they may receive a $50 store credit that can be used towards future purchases. The store credit balance remains in the customer’s account until they choose to redeem it.

The nature of value in store credit allows customers to apply the credit partially or in full towards purchases. They can use store credit to make multiple transactions until the credit is fully utilized. If the purchase amount exceeds the store credit balance, customers can use another payment method to cover the remaining balance.

Usage and Redemption of gift card vs store credit

Gift cards

Gift cards are generally given as gifts or promotional incentives. They can be used by anyone who possesses the card, either the purchaser or a recipient. Customers redeem gift cards by entering the unique code or scanning the QR code at checkout.

Store credit

Store credit is specific to an individual customer and is typically linked to their account. It is often granted as a result of returns, refunds, or customer loyalty programs. Store credit is automatically applied to eligible purchases during the checkout process.

Gift card & store credit – Flexibility and Restrictions

Gift Cards

Gift cards provide customers with the freedom to choose their desired products within the store’s offerings, up to the value of the card. However, some gift cards may have limitations or restrictions on specific products, sales, or expiration dates, depending on the store’s policies.

Store Credit

Store credit offers greater flexibility since it can be applied to any product or service offered by the store. It may also be subject to certain limitations or exclusions, depending on the store’s policies.

Customer Experience and Retention

Gift Cards

Gift cards make for great presents and incentives, providing a positive customer experience. They can attract new customers to your store, encourage repeat purchases, and increase customer loyalty.

Store Credit

Store credit can improve customer satisfaction by offering a convenient way to handle returns or refunds. It also encourages customers to come back and shop again, as they have a credit balance waiting to be used.


Understanding the differences between gift cards and store credit on Shopify is crucial for tailoring your payment options to meet customer preferences and drive sales. Gift cards are perfect for gifting and promotions, while store credit serves as a flexible payment method and enhances customer loyalty. By utilizing both features strategically, you can provide a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers while boosting your store’s growth and success.

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