Gift Certificates for Online Franchises

I have a client with some interesting needs, and they recently requested the ability to sell gift certificates online. There isn’t a cut and dried solution I can think of immediately. Allow me to elaborate:

  • The website operates as a corporate figurehead for ~25 franchises, but each of these franchises operate as a completely separate business entity. Their own merchant accounts, services, etc.

  • Each franchise can take payments online, but also in-store at the time services are rendered.

These features are already implemented, but the gift certificates add another layer of complexity.

  • Gift certificates can be purchased from ANY franchise, and can be redeemed at that franchise OR another franchise.

  • When a gift certificate is purchased (online or in-store), the funds would have to be deposited to a separate corporate account. When the gift certificate is redeemed, the money would be moved from the corporate account to the franchise account (method?).

All of this would be so much simpler if the GC could only be redeemed at the store it was purchased from, but I want to at least attempt to find a longer term solution first. The method I’m considering seems like I’m reinventing the wheel.

Any thoughts?