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Looking for a gift card API? Start here

Posted on 22 March 2024
Read time 5 mins
Author Sophia 🌱

Whether you’re looking to enhance your reward solutions, grow customer engagement, build better loyalty programs, or explore the use of gift cards for cashback and cashout, then a digital gift card API is the bridge between the world's leading gift card brands and the modern technological requirements of your business.  

What is a gift card API?

Let’s start with the basics: what is an API? 

An API is an Application Programming Interface (API) - a software intermediary that connects two or more software components. In the world of gift cards, an API allows businesses to offer seamless gift card experiences to their customers directly through their existing platforms. This includes everything from accessing gift card brands, issuing gift cards, redeeming them, checking balances, and more! 

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Why use a gift card API?

The truth is you don’t need a gift card API to integrate digital gift cards into your business, but using one will make life a whole lot easier. 

Before APIs were a thing, businesses used to form individual agreements and connections with brands on a case-by-case basis. One at a time. Slowly and laboriously. Plus, they’d need to build out a back-end system to manage their gift card reporting and the delivery of their chosen gift cards, which puts a lot of strain on their technical teams and demands a lot of upfront cost and effort.

Predictably, that was a bit of a headache, so the gift card API was born, allowing businesses to connect to thousands of the world's best-loved brands with one integration and manage their transactions via a centralized platform, like Tillo.

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Spotlight on the benefits of a gift card API

🌍 One integration, global connectivity - A gift card API allows businesses to plug into thousands of gift cards with a single integration.

😃 Better customer experience - A gift card API facilitates a seamless and integrated customer experience, removing friction from the gift card purchase and redemption process.

📈 Increased efficiency - Automating the gift card lifecycle through an API can significantly reduce operational complexities and costs for the businesses that use them.

🛍️ More personalization options - Gift card APIs offer businesses the capability to tailor their gift card offerings to specific customer segments or promotional activities.

Key features to look for when choosing a gift card API provider

The benefits of using a gift card API are plentiful, but not all gift card platforms are created equal. Here are some things to look for when choosing a gift card API provider. 

1. The breadth of their gift card catalog

Access to a wide range of brands is essential when choosing a gift card API. If you also have plans to expand into other countries, then be sure to check which regions they cover and the currencies they support. 

Did you know that Tillo works with more than 2000+ gift card brands in 37 markets and 16 currencies?

2. Brand exclusives and competitive discounts

A major factor when choosing a gift card API is the value it brings to your business. Does the provider have strong gift card discounts? Can they offer any brand exclusives? How do they approach adding new brands to keep their catalog fresh? 

3. The reliability of their API 

Whatever your volumes, you need to trust that your chosen gift card API can handle the demand. Be sure to look at the reliability of their platform during peak periods and ask them how they handle updates and deployments. 

4. How easy their gift card platform is to use 

A user-friendly platform is a must-have feature for any leading gift card API. After demoing the system, be sure to try it out for yourself, and don’t be afraid to look online at user reviews to get a feel for how existing customers are using the platform.

5. Their onboarding process 

Integrating with a gift card API doesn’t need to be a painful process so long as your provider has clear API documentation and an established onboarding process. Bring your technical team in on discussions with potential providers and ask to see their API documentation upfront - this will help you get a feel for how long the process will take.

6. The support they offer 

Throughout onboarding and beyond, it’s important to have access to around-the-clock support when you need it. What are their support hours? Do they have a library of self-help resources? What are other people saying about the support they offer? Check out Tillo’s reviews on G2 here. 

7. Their plans for the future 

The best API today may not be the best API tomorrow. Like all technology, gift card platforms and APIs must evolve to continuously meet the needs of their customers. How does the provider capture and utilize customer feedback? What’s next on their product roadmap? Are they renowned for being ahead of the curve?

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Where could a gift card API take your business?

While gift cards are most often associated with rewards and incentives, they are becoming increasingly popular across a wide range of industries and use cases. 

Here are just some of the ways in which your business can benefit from a gift card API. 

Consumer rewards and incentives 

Starting with the obvious, a gift card API empowers you to influence every touchpoint of the customer journey, from acquisition to loyalty - giving you access to the brands your customers love and making it effortless to tailor your marketing strategies to their preferences. 

See how Banked: utilizes digital gift cards to incentivize users to try Pay by Bank

Employee rewards 

Happy employees are productive employees. Integrating with a gift card API gives rewards and recognition providers access to the motivational power of the world's leading brands, helping them to reward and incentivize global teams instantly and effectively. 


Hear how Ocasta was able to deliver a 98% engagement rate for Virgin Media O2 using digital gift card rewards.

Relief support and funds disbursement 

At the end of the day, gift cards are a form of currency, making them a great way to disburse targeted funds to those in need. Integration with a gift card API empowers businesses to distribute relief support at scale and using a mechanism that people are already familiar with.

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Learn how Tillo helped the UK Government to issue over 95% of Free School Meals vouchers during COVID-19.


Loyalty cash out 

Whether it be points, stars, or gold, gift cards make the perfect cash-out mechanism for lovable loyalty programs, allowing businesses to reward their users and self-fund their programs using the power of gift card discounts. 

Leading BNPL Provider

See how a leading BNPL provider uses Tillo to power their loyalty cash-out program.

Crypto off-ramp

Love it or hate it, crypto is firmly a part of the modern financial world, but not all businesses are ready to get on board with magical internet money. The solution? Allowing consumers to off-ramp their cryptocurrency to digital gift cards, empowering them to use the value of their crypto at the brands they love without the retailer needing to take any crypto payments directly. 


Read more about how gift cards fit into the crypto landscape and the benefits they offer consumers.

Supercharged cashback

By integrating with a gift card API, businesses looking to offer cashback programs to their users can turn a cost center into a profit generator - all thanks to the power of gift card discounts. 

Jam Doughnut

Discover how gift cards allow JamDougnut to offer their customers up to 20% cashback as instant rewards.


Ready to see what a gift card API can do for you?

The right gift card API can transform your business, offering a direct path to enhanced customer engagement, operational efficiency, and revenue growth. 

Ready to learn more? Then start here with Tillo, the award-winning gift card API, Industry Service Provider of the Year, and the only gift card platform to receive the prestigious Customer Service Accreditation

Take our platform for a test drive today and unlock the power of a gift card API for your business.

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