The Value of Giving a Gift Card this Holiday Season

Gift Cards: Understanding the Benefits, Pros Cons, Mistakes People Make and Best Practices

Gift cards have become an increasingly popular way to give a thoughtful present. They give the recipient the freedom to choose their own gift and the satisfaction of spending it how they choose. In this article we'll explore the pros and cons of gift cards, highlight potential mistakes people make and provide best practices that will maximize the value of your gift.

Gift cards are prepaid cards that are pre-loaded with a certain amount of money that can be used to purchase goods or services from a particular store or merchant. There are two types of gift cards: store cards, which can be used in a single store or chain, and open loop cards, which can be used anywhere a specified payment system is accepted such as Visa or Mastercard.

Gift cards are a convenient and practical way to give a thoughtful gift. Here are some of the benefits of giving gift cards:

  • A great way to show appreciation to family, friends, or colleagues.
  • Recipient has freedom to choose their own gift.
  • Recipients can use the entire balance of the card at one time or over time.
  • Convenient and easy to purchase.
  • CAN be personalized with messages or photos.

Jane had recently started a new job and was not sure what type of gift to give her new boss. She decided to give him a gift card to his favorite restaurant. When she presented the card to her new boss, he was visibly pleased. She was glad that she was able to give him a gift he would enjoy.

John was looking for an affordable way to shop for gifts for his family. He decided to purchase gift cards for each of them. He was able to purchase the cards quickly and easily and his family was able to enjoy their gifts without spending additional money.

Before you decide to purchase a gift card, it is important to consider the pros and cons. Here's a quick overview:

ConvenienceChance of being lost or stolen
Flexibility for recipientExpiration dates
The recipient is able to choose their own presentGift cards may be declined in select stores
Customizable with photos and messagesFees associated with some cards

Though gift cards are a great way to give a thoughtful gift, there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of and certain best practices when it comes to using them. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make:

  • Forgetting to pay attention to expiration dates.
  • Not taking into account registration and activation requirements.
  • Not keeping track of the balance.
  • Not researching the fees associated with a particular card.
  • Not checking to make sure the card can be used in a particular store.

Following a few best practices when purchasing and using gift cards will ensure that you get the most out of your gift. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Check to see if there are fees associated with the card.
  • Check expiration dates on the card and be sure to use it before the expiration date.
  • Read the terms and conditions before purchase and ask questions if you are unclear.
  • Keep the card in a safe place and track the balance.
  • Register the card right away.
  • Use the card right away when you receive it.

Gift cards are a great way to give a thoughtful and appreciated gift. Just be sure to keep track of the balance, check for fees, and pay attention to expiration dates. By following these best practices, you'll maximize the value of your gift card and ensure that the recipient is able to get the most out of it.