Many people have a negative opinion about Gift Cards. They call them the “lazy option” and say that they are much too impersonal or that they will just be put aside and forgotten in someone’s sock drawer. The fact is however that gift cards have been one of the hottest items on many people’s shopping list in 2013.
Indeed, a recent poll showed that over 80% of holiday shoppers last year bought a gift card for someone, spending to the tune of almost $30 billion for these little bundles of plastic joy. And why wouldn’t someone want to give a gift card? They’re not only as good as giving someone cash but they also take a lot of stress off of the gift giver in that they don’t have to try and read someone’s mind as to what they actually want. They can also help someone to avoid that weird moment that we all have been through when getting a lousy gift from someone we care about. Below are a number of reasons that should help to convince you that gift cards aren’t nearly as bad as they’re cracked up to be. Enjoy.
1) Gift Cards are more likely to actually be used. Let’s do a little comparison. Approximately $2 billion worth of gift cards are either lost, stolen or simply forgotten in the United States every year. That seems like quite a bit of wasted money but, when you compare it to the fact that nearly $50 billion worth of holiday gifts are returned to the store every year, that number pales in comparison.
2) Tracking Gift Cards is now a lot easier. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, including the craziness of unwrapping a mountain of presents, gift cards can sometimes be lost and even thrown away. Today there are a number of apps and other services that will let you upload your gift card info to your smart phone so that, even if that piece of plastic goes missing, you won’t lose out on the cash. Two of these include GoWallet and Gyft.
3) All sorts of businesses are now offering Gift Cards. While it used to be that you could only use a gift card in one particular store or on one particular type of item, these days there are a number of business gift cards that can help someone to, for example, pay their gas bill, purchase groceries and even book a flight home.
4) Gift Cards help you stay on budget. Many people (us included) get so caught up in the holiday fervor that we simply overspend and blow our budget all to heck. Purchasing Gift Cards lets a person get in and out of the store before they’re tempted to waste money on impulse purchases. Not only that but it can help someone to precisely budget their Christmas cash. There are even reputable secondhand gift card sites where you can get them at a discount like PlasticJungle, GiftCardGranny, and ABCGiftCards.
5) Giving Gift Cards is much less Stressful. Research has shown that trying to find the perfect gift for one person is difficult but, for many people, can be quite stressful. In many cases people overthink their gift giving options and stress themselves out. The fact is that, while it might not be a lot of fun to gift wrap gift cards, the real point of giving a gift is to make someone else happy and giving gift cards actually does just that while lowering your stress at the same time.
6) Gift cards make an excellent last-minute gift. Recent poll showed that 90% of shoppers still had the majority of their Christmas and holiday shopping to do even into the second week of December. Just as with number 5 above, if you’re looking for last-minute gifts, Gift Cards can be an easy and stress-free solution.
7) People actually like and want Gift Cards. In a 2012 holiday survey nearly 60% of respondents said that, when given the choice between a “regular” gift and the Gift Card, they would choose the card. if that’s not a good reason to give Gift Cards, nothing is.
Before closing with like to mention that there are a couple of things that you should look out for when buying Gift cards. The first are the hidden fees that some Gift Cards come with. In particular are the cards that are found at most drugstore and grocery chains situated near the front and massive kiosks. Then there are of course the scams that, unfortunately, are the scourge of gift cards everywhere. When buying a Gift Card make sure that the one you purchase has not been tampered with in any way. When possible, ask for a card that has not been displayed in the store but instead stored behind a counter or somewhere else safe.