@jsimsace and @miyoshinum5: A debit card ["check card"] doesn't have any money assigned to it; the card itself is worthless. It's really just a conduit to allow access to money you have in a savings or checking account.
A regular gift card (or a reloadable card), on the other hand, does have value and is generally not tied to a checking or savings account in any way. You don't even have to have an account at a financial institution to have one. The Visa or Mastercard computers "know" how much money was assigned [loaded onto] the card when it was first purchased or when it was last reloaded, and the computers keep track of how much you've spent and what the remaining balance is.
I suspect that some merchants will not accept a gift card for a telephone or web-based purchase for that very reason: they're not tied to any verifiable address or person. Either card should be acceptable in person at any merchant that accepts any other Visa/Mastercard branded card.
Credit cards are an entirely different type of "banking product" and are issued based on your overall credit worthiness and whatever other guidelines your financial institution requires.
If you're actually asking what difference there is to a merchant in accepting one kind of card but not the other, it's disingenous to claim it's because of the speed or slowness of the approval process. It's the same process no matter which type of card is used, and it takes only a split second for the merchant to obtain an approval or decline from Visa.read more collapse
- Nov 9, 2012 9:46 PM
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