There are some common “myth”-conceptions in regards to paper and plastic gift cards. Once again, we consulted Rich Olson of Optimum Card Solutions, who helped set the record straight.

Myth #1:  Paper gift cards will cost higher than plastic gift cards

One of the benefits of paper gift cards is sustainability. Yet there is the preconceived notion that sustainability can be costlier. Actually, quite the opposite is true. The common process for making a plastic gift card can take anywhere from 6-8 steps. But Optimum Card Solutions simply takes a roll of paper, loads it up and prints it on the spot. A one-step process. “Brands can save anywhere from 10-20% by switching to paper. One of our restaurant brands who made the switch saved over $1 million in their production budget,” says Olson.

Fact: Producing paper gift cards is a far faster and less costly process than making plastic gift cards!


Myth #2: Plastic gift cards can be recycled

Since in many cases plastic is recyclable, it’s commonly believed that plastic gift cards are also recyclable. Not true! “Because of the chloride content they contain, plastic cards gives off toxic fumes when burned,” Olson explained. In fact, there is only one available specialty gift card recycle center that will convert the gift cards into something else through a unique recyclable process. But! to send your cards there, you’re charged a shipping fee, plus a fee to have them accepted.

Fact: Since gift cards contain PVC, they will end up in the landfill, never to be recycled. In contrast, not only can a paper gift card be recycled, but even when adding a magnetic strip or foil, they are still degradable.


Myth #3: Paper gift cards aren’t as functional and durable as plastic

Well guess what. The functionality and durability of paper gift cards are the same, if not better, to their plastic counterparts. What’s more, the average life of a plastic gift card is about 2.5 swipes. Whereas paper gift cards have been proven to last hundreds of swipes without any reported functionality glitches.

Fact: Optimum Card Solutions tested about 500 paper gift cards in the marketplace before going through with the process and experienced no issues.

Plastic gift cards may be the norm, but we are starting to hear about more and more companies adopting paper gift cards. Best Buy plans to say bye-bye to plastic gift cards this year.

Paper gift cards have so many benefits not only to retailers but to the environment. It would be a shame if the myths got in the way. Hope we have busted them today!