So why hasn’t Google made gift cards for the Play Store yet?

I can’t remember how long we’ve been asking ourselves the following question: why doesn’t Google release gift cards for the Android Market Google Play Store? I can think of many instances where I would have rather bought Google Play Store cards instead of paying for each app individually.

For one, it would be a lot easier to balance my bank account every day as I’d only have to book one purchase for all my downloads.

Secondly, I’ve had the urge to gift apps or money for apps from time to time, and without having to buy a gift card from a major credit card vendor I’d just give people the cash instead (which was likely used on copious amounts of soda).

As big a convenience as it would be for us users, it would be a nice deal for Google, too. The gift card business is huge, and I know from personal experience that my family members would rather issue those instead of thoughtful gifts come Christmas or my birthday. It would drive revenue to the Google Play Store because it would encourage content that they wouldn’t buy otherwise.

We know they have the capability to implement digital gift cards as evidenced by the $25 credit you get when buying the Nexus 7, so what’s the big deal?

I’d venture to guess Google just isn’t interested in going the physical card model as they’re not well-versed in the retail world, but what’s holding them back from pulling an Amazon and offering digital gift cards to those willing and able to buy them?

While I couldn’t tell you the numbers Apple racks up in iTunes Gift Cards, I know from my time in retail that those things fly off the shelves on a daily basis. There’s a huge market out there for them.

By capitalizing on it Google would enjoy even more revenue from paid apps than what they’re already seeing. It’s a win-win situation and it’s high time they took advantage. What say you?

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  • Jack Fifield

    I’d love for this to be implemented, but mainly because then I could ask for them ;D

    • Be Logical


  • RedPandaAlex

    Also, think about teenagers who have Android devices but no credit cards. If they could go into a gamestop and buy a Google Play gift card with cash, it would open up a whole new market.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      It will also allow me to not have to depend on just one of my bank accounts (only one of the 4 banks I have an account with allows Play Store transactions). They should either increase the different banks supported or the different methods for purchasing apps from the Play Store. Then maybe we will have a bit less piracy because Google actually did something about it.

    • DavidVarghese

      Apple would sue them because of their iTunes gift cards already in stores… lol

      • Julian Coronado

        Exactly! I’m 14 and I hate having to give my parents $1.99 for every app I want to buy! Other devices have it to though so Apple shouldn’t sue! PSN, Xbox, Nintendo, and other gaming websites! I could buy one at Walmart and punch in the code! I’ve been wanting Minecraft PE for a while but my mom disabled my phone to purchase apps directly to the bill. So I NEED this gift cards!

        • disqusname

          You’re a 14-years old Phandroid reader, cool xD

      • Boris Gershman

        Hahah, totes true.

    • Siddharth Motwani

      As part of that demographic, I couldn’t agree more. I want to buy apps and support the developers all the time, but can’t for obvious reasons. you don’t feel like you’re wasting money when you use a gift card, I have bought so many stupid indie games on the Xbox live marketplace.

    • cns2007

      THIS^^^ to me is the single most glaring reason to do so. My nieces and nephews are gifted iTunes cards for their iPods, all the time.

  • DanWazz

    I wouldn’t mind using a gift card to buy music,movies, or apps. Plus, I probably would give them to my friends for presents, that way they can stop whining about paying for apps.

  • Eddie Seelke

    Or they could do like Amazon. When I purchase music on Amazon, I get one final charge at the end of the day for whatever I purchased during that day.

    • ericl5112

      iTunes does that as well. Would be nice.

  • Jack E Mabry Jr

    Yeah, I keep looking for Google gift cards all the time when I hit 7-11 or Wawa. I really want them to make some.

  • ljhughes8

    It would be a very good idea.

  • tim bennett

    I’ve been wondering this for the past 1.5 years. (I’d really love to be able to gift specifically selected apps, but I see there would be many credit card problem/ fraud issues with using one phone to buy apps for another.)

  • Unorthodox

    Conspiracy theorist here – because they want(ed) to make you use Google Wallet(Checkout) and eventually(already happening) go into the real world with it.
    Like Cloud is the main reason why you don’t get mSD on Nexus 7.

    I would also love the idea. It would make one site less where I have to leave my real credit card info. My bank just sent me some special kind of VISA for e-purchases, and I’m seriously thinking of switching Google Wallet to that source.

    • ericl5112

      The play store credit from buying a nexus 7 was put into your google wallet. For those that got a nexus 7, go to, hit payment methods, and you will see your google play promotional balance. If anything, a digital google play gift card that is auto-sent to google wallet will increase it’s use I would think. So I don’t think that’s it (nor do I think your uSD theory is true, but that’s another post).

  • Eden Soto

    Besides this, I really hope we see branching out of the service beyond Google products… I have a few Roku’s, PS3, 360, etc that all have the Amazon Instant Video app on them… if I’m going to continue to buy all my content through the Play Store, I need more flexible ways to view it other than just my Nexus 7, Q, etc

    • AQP

      Later on after I setup my nexus 7 and got the free transformers movie I was on YouTube on my laptop and noticed that the information transformer movie was now linked to my YouTube account, after that I bought another movie on Google play and it appeared as well I didn’t realize it would do that especially since Google doesn’t publicize it, pretty cool!

  • cns2007

    Way, way, way overdue for this.

  • Tyler Hilliard

    My thoughts exactly (for a long time) they did purchase TxVia after all

  • ericl5112

    What is the block for google selling apps in certain countries? Is it not being compatible with the banking system there? I wonder if, in countries where people cannot buy paid apps, google could sell gift cards to at least give them some option (unless there are other reasons for that).

  • Ken Bosse

    This could somewhat slow down piracy too. If people are not willing to spend their own money on an app, I would think they would have no problem spending other peoples since they got it as a gift.

  • Travis Slate

    app gifting is seriously needed. there’s at least 2-3 apps a month i wish i could buy for the gf, but no option to do so

  • bob

    There’s only one good answer for this. They want your credit card and personal info. Gift cards reduce the likely hood that will happen.

  • shmigga

    I have been wondering this for years.

  • abc

    “For one, it would be a lot easier to balance my bank account every day as I’d only have to book one purchase for all my downloads.”

    Wow, you balance your bank account every day? That’s a good habit to get into, but haven’t ever met anyone with the discipline to actually do it.

    Plus everything is online these days, I just log on every month and make sure non of the purchases look out of the ordinary.

    But kudos to you!

  • RitishOemraw

    If it allows me to buy apps without owning a Credit card, then DO IT NOW GOOGLE!!! NOW!

  • Saleenfiend

    Duh! Apple is already has a flat rectangular device paten in the works, certainly. Then, I’m sure they offered Google a cross liscensing deal for the idea of a gift card for the small fee of 10% on all cards sold.


    Come on people, this is 2012. Why would we need those? I haven’t purchased a physical gift card in close to 10 years

    • acer1096xxx

      Not even for another person? What planet do you live on?


        I either gift a real item, or just give cash. I don’t like giving gift cards because they limit the person to shop at specific stores….

        • Julian Coronado

          Well gift cards stores have the Visa cards which you can use wherever. And for people like me! (age 14) I dont have a credit card! So it’s a hassle giving my parents cash and having them bill it directly to the bill!

    • DaMilliMan

      I got my girlfriend a gift card to Mac a couple of months ago. She loved it. I would love to receive a play store gift card. I mean…it just makes perfect sense.

  • $3663674

    Oh, don’t get me started.

    It’s stuff like this that makes me think that sometimes Google has no one working for them that doesn’t live in their mother’s basement.

    To win the market, you have to win the teen-young adult market. Those kids don’t necessarily have checking accounts much less debit or credit cards, but their older relatives LOVE to give them gift cards for special events.

    I can’t for the life of me understand why Google hasn’t figured this out yet. Heck, I can even buy Amazon MP3/Kindle cards at the local CVS. Why can’t I buy Google Play cards?

    Way back in the pre-Kindle days, I hoped that Amazon + Google would get together and work as partners, let Amazon be the marketing & support channel and Google provide the tech. It’s a shame they never did. I really think Google is clueless when it comes to basic customer service and savvy.

  • RavenFox

    I say yez

  • Yosh Yosh

    Do it Google. I would ask for them on every Holiday!

  • kev2684

    Google wants you to use Google Wallet.

    • acer1096xxx

      That’s fine; they should allow you to put your Google gift card on Google Wallet then.

  • meliorist

    Please, Google, please – bring gift cards to Google Play – today, if possible!

    • Unknown404

      2-3 weeks at Target, TRU, Gamestop and WM. No BBY this year.

  • wtpanos

    You should be able to buy an app like a gift and send it to a friends gmail account. I’ve wanted to do that many a time to friends when I see an app perfect for them. A notification can come up and ask them if they want to download or not

  • Hohlraum

    Apple has a patent on selling gift cards for use on the app store for a mobile device. ;)

  • Paul Cotton

    Gift Cards, yeah, sure. Mostly though I want to be able to gift individual apps from the store. No card needed.

  • louched1

    Will Apple allow Play Store gift cards without a frivolous lawsuit? Somehow I doubt they will, but add me to the list of people who would love to receive a Play Store gift card!

    • Julian Coronado

      They shouldn’t be able to sue because of the other companies offering gift cards!
      PSN, Xbox Live, Nintendo Points, and other sites like Roblox, Gaia, Minecraft etc.

  • VEC

    I really don’t understand why neither Google nor Amazon have created gift cards. I was forced to give out several iTunes cards over the last few years when I’d much rather have issued an Amazon card. Now that Google is selling music I’d like to be able to tuck a Google gift card in my friends Christmas and Birthday cards. They should really start stocking up the local grocery stores with Google gift cards!

  • luis

    they could do so much with this. use ur phone to reload money on the gift card via Google wallet NFC.

  • ass

    I think there’s a kind of major plan for torturing developers as much and as long as possible before loosing them to Windows or iOS (Note: I’m still an Android fan)!
    I really have no other explanation for Googles behaviour!
    I mean, there’s Google this big and innovative company with lots of money!
    And there’s Android. Designed for piracy, full of features that make it nearly impossible for developers to earn money, literally no payment alternatives, lots of countries where you still can’t sell Apps, not to speak of Gift Cards, no communcation on Google’s side (what’s going on with Jelly Beans App Encryption?).

    I don’t like Windows, but I really think it’s better for developers! It will keep having problems in the Smartphone-Market, but through the tablet space it will get traction. And it will reach a point where it also gets attractive in terms of installations. And when that happens, my prediction is that developers will flock away from Android, fed up with Google not getting it’s ass up and doing the right things with the right speed!

  • Greg Lambert

    True story. This would be an excellent gift idea which I’d take advantage of.

  • Unknown404

    They are coming! Fall/Holiday of this year!

  • Unknown404

    They are coming! Fall/Holiday of this year!

  • Brian S.

    Because kids should learn how to pirate instead of spending their money on apps that trick kids into paying for in game content.

    I don’t know if this was Google’s intent but if kids need their parents to load money onto their Google account it forces parents to be better parents (well, hopefully).

  • Shalaina Lalonde

    You know I was thinking. If people can’t get apps for free… Smarter people will find a way to get these payed apps for free so Google loses even MORE money… Seems like logic to me if you ask me. It’s like they are testing us or something.