Here's what you need to know about buying and using gift cards at the supermarket.
Both Coles and Woolworths offer gift cards that can be used in participating supermarkets or a wide range of other stores. These products can be a convenient and thoughtful alternative to giving someone cash, while still offering a similar level of flexibility.
However, gift cards do come with terms and conditions that you’ll need to pay attention to as both a gift-giver and receiver. Here, we explain the different gift cards available from Woolworths and Coles, how they work and what you should consider when looking at these two supermarket options.
What gift cards can I buy at the supermarket?
Coles and Woolworths provide a wide selection of gift cards both in the supermarket and online, which can be grouped into two main categories:
- Supermarket gift cards. These cards are designed to be used for spending at Coles, Woolworths and other participating partner brands. This could include Liquorland, Kmart and Target for a Coles gift card, or Big W, Dan Murphy's and Woolworths Caltex service stations for a Woolworths gift card. Note participating stores vary depending on the type of Coles or Woolworths gift card you choose, with the most flexible options being the Coles Group & Myer and Woolworths WISH gift cards respectively.
- Store and experience gift cards. Coles and Woolworths supermarkets also stock a variety of gift cards for other retailers and brands, such as iTunes, Bunnings, JB Hi-Fi, Village Cinemas and Red Balloon.
While Coles and Woolworths set the terms and conditions for their branded gift cards, the features and requirements of retail and experience gift cards are set by individual retailers. As such, we've focused specifically on Coles and Woolworths supermarket gift cards for this guide.
How to compare Woolworths WISH Gift Cards and Coles Group & Myer Gift Cards
When choosing a supermarket gift card, it's important to consider not only how much money you'll load onto it, but where it can be used. Compare the key details of Woolworths WISH and Coles Group & Myer gift cards using this table so that you can decide which one is right for your needs.
|Key details||Woolworths WISH Gift Cards||Coles Group & Myer Gift Cards|
|Expiry||12 months||24 months|
|Min / Max Load||$5 / $500||$5 / $500|
*List of participating retailers correct: 20/03/17.
What other details should I consider when comparing Woolworths and Coles gift cards?
As well as where you can use these cards, the expiry date, load values and online shopping options, make sure you consider the following factors:
- Purchasing options. Both Woolworths and Coles gift cards can be purchased in-store or online. If you have a rewards credit card, you may also be able to redeem points for gift cards from Coles, Woolworths or for other retailers.
- Fees. While these cards can be purchased-in store at no extra cost (other than the value loaded onto the card), there may be other fees for purchasing physical cards online. For example, buying a plastic Woolworths WISH Gift Card online will attract a registered post fee of $5.50 or a courier fee of $14.95. Similarly, purchasing a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card online will attract a delivery fee of $5.50.
- Card theft or loss. These gift cards are treated as cash. This means that if they are lost or stolen, there is little chance of reclaiming the value of the card.
- Cash equivalent purchase. Woolworths and Coles gift cards are classified as "cash equivalent purchases", so if you use a credit card to buy them, the transaction will be treated as a cash advance. This means you'll have to pay a cash advance fee and the cash advance interest rate. The payment also won't be eligible to earn points through a credit card rewards program.
Pros and cons of using a supermarket gift card
- Choice. A gift card is more personal than giving cash but still allows the recipient to choose what they want to buy.
- Online facilities. It’s easy to manage your gift card and check your remaining balance. Simply visit the card issuer’s website to access the online tools.
- Customisable cards. Woolworths and Coles gift cards offer a range of design options to suit different occasions.
- Expiry. A gift card will expire after a period of time and any remaining value on the card will be lost.
- Limited acceptance. A gift card can only be used at certain shops and merchants.
- Limited use. Most gift cards can only be loaded with money once, and used until that balance is cleared or the card expires (whichever happens first).
Woolworths and Coles gift cards come with a range of terms and conditions. So before buying one, make sure you compare the features and acceptance of these cards so that you can choose a gift that offers the greatest value to you and the person you're buying it for.Back to top
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between an egift card and a regular gift card?
An "egift card" is a digital or virtual gift card, rather than a physical card. While you swipe a regular gift card at the checkout, with an egift card you simply enter the details from the virtual card to make a purchase. Some egift cards are designed specifically for online purchases, while others are accepted in-store as well.
Why doesn’t my gift card work?
If your gift card doesn’t work, check to see whether the card is still valid. If you’re trying to use the product in-store and you get a bad read message, check to see whether or not the magnetic strip on the back or card is damaged. If it is damaged, you may need to arrange for a replacement. This can be organised by contacting the card issuer customer service.
What if I want to return goods purchased with the gift card?
You should be able to return goods you’ve purchased with your gift card. However, refund policies can vary depending on the store where the items were purchased. So instead of money being refunded onto the gift card, you may be refunded in cash or have the option of getting the funds reimbursed onto your debit or credit card. Contact the store directly to enquire about your refund options for any purchases made with a gift card.
How do I find out about the balance of my gift card?
Most gift card issuers allow you to check the balance of your gift card online. You will need to visit the gift card website and look for the option that lets you log in to your gift card account.
Will I get change from my gift card?
While most supermarket gift cards won't allow you to get cash if there is a balance remaining after your purchase, you can usually continue using the card until you have spent the full amount loaded onto it.