It can be quite challenging to buy a gift for somebody. There’s always someone who can make the task difficult for you no matter how good you are at buying presents. Of course, you’ll try your hardest in finding a gift that represents the recipient because you’d not want to end up looking like you haven’t put effort into it. That can be very problematic and will bring so much stress to you.
The good news is that gift givers now have a way around it in the form of gift cards. With gift cards, you’re going to place the power to choose a present in the receiver’s hand. That way, you can be sure they’ll get their personal choice.
What’s A Gift Card?
It’s a prepaid debit card. It contains a specific amount of funds available for use for various purchases.
Gift Cards: How Do They Work?
A gift card generally has two types–you have the closed-loop cards and the open-loop cards. Both of them can be used in person and online to buy something.
Most gift cards have a maximum and minimum initial loading amount. USD$500 is a common maximum, while a common minimum is USD$10. Gift cards can also be used in paying for a portion of the price of a purchased item with credit, debit, or cash used to balance the expense.
Here’s a closer look at the two types of gift cards:
- Open-Loop Gift Cards – One can use an open-loop gift card at any merchant where the card is accepted. It can also be used to purchase something online. They offer the equivalent of cash. Open-loop gift cards function the same way as a debit or credit card. The cards offered by major credit card or charge processors/issuers, like Mastercard, Discover, Visa, and American Express, can be considered as open-loop gift cards. They can be used to perform electronic payments nearly anywhere. You’ll notice that they’ll also have the payment processor’s logo displayed on them.
Open-loop gift cards are usually reloadable. They allow the user to top up funds on their own. Their main advantage is being able to serve as a standard prepaid card. Note that, sometimes, users must pay an activation fee at the time of purchasing an open-loop gift card. The required activation fee is, more or less, USD$5.
- Closed-Loop Gift Cards – Unlike open-loop gift cards, the closed-loop ones only work at one store. Closed-loop gift cards can also work with one corporation’s brands. One good example are Walmart gift cards. You can obtain Walmart gift cards for free by using rewards apps, like Swagbucks; however, you can only use them at Walmart stores.
A gift card is a closed-loop one if, for instance, it’s offered by “Sample Store” and have their logo and name on them. That means the user can only redeem the card at the “Sample Store”.
Closed-loop gift cards won’t also have the logo of a payment processor, like Mastercard or Visa, on them. The specific business that offers that card will have their own processing program, and it’s the only program that will accept the card.
Why Purchase A Gift Card For Someone This Year?
Gift cards are often considered impersonal gifts. They often get the bad rap due to the misconception that they’re only given by individuals who don’t care or are lazy to purchase “real” gifts. Many people will often talk about those gift cards they’ve received but have never used. The truth is that everyone has probably gotten a gift from someone that they actually never used. If it’s a gift card, at least it won’t take up valuable space in your basement or attic.
Here are 14 reasons you should consider purchasing a gift card and giving it as a gift to someone this year:
- Putting The Choice On The Recipient
Buying a gift card for a loved one or friend presents many benefits. However, its main benefit is that you’re putting the choice directly on the receiver’s hands. They’ll be the one to make the final decision when it comes to purchasing something. Choosing a present is a task that takes so much thought and time. You know how difficult it can get just trying to find the “perfect” gift. If you want to give the recipient the chance to get something that they really want, a gift card is your best bet.
- Avoid Giving Something The Receiver Already Has
A lot of people have experienced receiving gifts that they already have. Preventing buying a duplicate item is possible if you opt for a gift card. By doing so, you can be sure that the recipient will really become excited upon receiving your gift. It ensures that your present is something that they can really make use of and won’t just be kept in the attic or basement.
- Stop Wasting Your Money
It’s exciting to buy a gift for someone. What makes it more satisfying is when you see and feel that they like your present. However, it doesn’t happen all the time. There’s a good chance your receiver won’t appreciate your chosen gift that much. It only means one thing–your money hasn’t been spent well. If you want to make sure that you aren’t throwing away hard-earned pennies, go for a gift card instead. Stop giving something that only has a 50/50 chance of success in terms of making the recipient happy.
- Anyone Can Have A Gift Card
Gift cards are perfect for any situation, which means that it doesn’t matter what the occasion is or who you’re buying them for. It can be one great way to show your admiration or appreciation whether for a new co-worker, a loved one, or your closest friend.
- Very Convenient
It’s an extremely simple process to buy a gift card. It’s true whether it’s a birthday gift card or a wedding gift card you’re looking for. If you opt to buy one online, it hardly takes any effort. The process is convenient and easy, and eliminates the wasting of time that normally happens when purchasing a present. Also, most retailers would be happy to help customers who are looking to buy a gift card.
Thanks to the advancements of the Internet, you don’t even have to leave home to do your gift shopping. Most stores now offer online gift cards. The good thing is that you also have the option to incorporate personal messages into the gift cards or personalize them with graphics. If you’re looking for a much more convenient way of giving a gift card to a friend or family member, take advantage of the option of having an electronic gift card emailed to them. Many retailers have that option, which helps the recipient to easily keep track of the card. You can send an electronic gift card anytime, so it’s perfect for you if you’re a last-minute shopper. You can also send one on holidays, even if most stores are closed.
- Easy To Personalize
You can make a gift personal by purchasing the right gift card for your receiver. While it’s true that you can’t go wrong with an Amazon or Visa card, it may be worth taking a look at other options as well. Today, almost every restaurant and store sell gift cards. Find out a place that your recipient rarely gets to visit or they check out almost every day. Get a gift card from that restaurant or store and treat your receiver.
- Gift Cards Can Be Used Online Or In-Store
If the receiver of your gift doesn’t live near a shipping area, they might not have the option to visit a retail store. If that’s the case, opt for a gift card that would allow them to spend the money online. Free samples and other perks are commonly offered by online stores, so that’s an added bonus the recipient can enjoy. With a gift card, you actually end up giving more.
- You Can Pair Up A Gift Card With A Small Gift
Many people believe that if they opt to give a gift card as a gift, the receiver won’t have anything to enjoy, especially on occasions, like birthdays and Christmas parties. If all they get as a present is a gift card, that could be a problem. However, that probably won’t happen. Note that you can actually pair your gift card with a small gift if you’re really worried about it.
For example, if you’re going to give a gift certificate from a pet store, you could pair it with a bag of catnip or a dog bone. Similarly, a gift card from a store that sells wine could be given with two or more wine glasses.
- Encourages Treats All Year Round
After Christmas day or birthday, some people can feel a little deflated since there are no more gifts to open. If you opt to give a gift card as a gift, you’ll give the receiver a little lift at another time in the year, especially during times when presents don’t come along that much. How’s that possible? It’s because the validity of some gift cards can actually last for a full year.
- Gift Cards Encourage Experiences
If you gift a friend or a family member with a theater voucher, a cinema voucher, or a restaurant voucher, they have to leave their house. They’ll choose a play, eatery, or film and find someone to go and make precious memories with them, all courtesy of you. That being said, gift cards aren’t always for things. They’re an excellent option to encourage experiences, too.
- Gift Cards Can Help Meet Costs
A lot of money gets spent on occasions, like wedding or birthday parties. Giving a retailer gift card is like giving the newlyweds or the celebrant a chance to recover some of the costs back. It’s possible since the gift card can be used later on to meet costs for new expenses that the receiver would make in the future. One excellent idea is to give a gift card that the recipient can use to receive a grocery delivery.
- Save Money And Time
You can budget a specific dollar amount for each gift card if you’re purchasing gifts for many people – a dozen nephews and nieces, for instance. It saves you money and also prevents arguments over who got the better gift since everyone gets the same amount. It also means you won’t have to shop for a gift for each person. Not to mention the fact that it eliminates the hassle of returning gifts, which can be a headache, especially after the holidays when lines for customer service are backed up to the store entrance.
- Easy To Wrap
Tons of wrapping paper get bought each year for gifts. They’re estimated to be able to fill almost five football fields. The worse thing is that a wrapping paper is often lined with plastic, which means that it can’t be recycled. By giving a gift card, a lot of paper could be saved. That way, you can help fight one of the environmental issues that the world has been facing for years – climate change. You can place gift cards inside small reusable containers before giving them to their respective recipients.
- Gift Cards Are More Appropriate To Send Through Post
If your friend or loved one lives far away and you’re unable to give the gift personally at Christmas time or during their birthday, a gift card becomes a much better choice for you. Unlike other presents, a gift card travels well and won’t be easily lost or broken along the way.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people decry gift cards because they’re so general. Some think they’re impersonal despite the fact that gift cards are very flexible. However, gift cards don’t have to be impersonal. It’s easy to get a gift card to the receiver’s favorite restaurant or store, allowing you to show them that you’ve put some careful thought into it. Gift cards are perfect since they combine the personalization with a specific store with the flexibility of cash. If you opt to give gift cards this year, you can offer flexible gifts and be thoughtful at the same time.