Gift Cards over Regular Gifts: Yes or No?

Can I be honest for a minute? When we were really broke, I really loved getting gift cards. I know that a lot of people think it’s impersonal or the easy way out. But, when we were really broke, it allowed us to go out to eat or do other fun things that we would never have been able to spend money on. If someone had simply given us cash, we would’ve used it for bills. Gift cards have given us a lot of memories.

I brought Sumeet on to share some ideas with us about gift cards. Check it out here-

For many years now, gift cards have served as a common alternative to regular gifts. In fact, a study in America forecasted that come 2020, the total projected volume of gift cards is likely to reach $160 billion.

With more than half of merchants now open to sell gift cards, gift givers will no longer have to worry about not picking the right item for their loved ones. With the emergence of gift certificates, there is probably nothing that cannot be bought.

Naturally, however, gift cards have become more preferable among gift givers than receivers. If you are to consider shopping for gift cards for your loved ones on special occasions, make sure you have already looked into the pros and cons of opting for it.

Reasons You May Not Want to Give a Gift Card

There’s no doubt that some people are not fans of gift cards. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if it is a good idea for your occasion.

The Absence of Personal Touch

One of the common misconceptions is that gift cards lack a personal touch and might imply that the gift giver is not thoughtful enough. Because of this, some say gift cards are a bad choice. Moreover, the possible value of gift cards also posed a minor threat to the receivers, e.g. accumulated fees, value depreciation, or gift card expiration.





The good news is, the legislative body of America has crafted a law to put such concerns to rest, stating that gift cards’ fees are waived within 12 months from the date of purchase. Moreover, by default, gift cards now have a validity period of five years.

Survey Speaks

Consumer Reports had once conducted a survey to know better about the people’s dislike for gift cards. Apparently, results showed that 58% of the responders did not use their gift cards because of lack of time or prioritization to shop. Moreover, 1/3 of the respondents said they attempted to use their gift cards but could not find anything fancy to buy.

Meanwhile, the remaining percentage either lost their cards or merely forgot they had it. Nonetheless, as per the survey, the result does not necessarily connote that giving gift cards is a bad idea in the same manner that a regular gift may also not automatically please its recipient.

Reasons to Consider Giving Gift Cards

While there are those who do not favor gift cards, many people still prefer gift cards over regular gifts for three common reasons.

First, the gift card gives them the freedom to buy whatever they want to buy as long as it is within the budget.

Second, the potential savings in the shipping fee is a lot when compared to the normal cost of mailing packages.

Third, if they wait for peak sales, they can use their gift cards for greater valued items instead. But aside from these, there are also other reasons why gift cards are a great deal:

Unwanted gift cards can now be converted into cash.

Nowadays, you can already find companies that buy unwanted gift cards for a portion of their value. After all, a great return is always better than having none at all. If you search over Google, you will even find companies allowing you to sell, trade, or purchase discounted gift cards. And your potential earning will basically depend on the popularity of the card you want to sell or trade for. With this, your savings can be maximized.

If you are a credit card holder, gift cards are your new friend.

That is because a lot of credit card companies nowadays offer these as rewards with the help of their points based reward program, something you can use to your favorite retail stores, restaurants, and other services you may want to avail. You can even sell these for cash too for almost the entire card value. Isn’t it amazing?

Gift cards offer great assistance for people living in a tight budget.

two people studying

A lot of gift card owners can benefit from them as these can buy almost anything essential nowadays. If you have one but you are somehow struggling financially, you can use it for:

  • Drug store purchases,
  • Groceries
  • Gas

And a lot more in your monthly list of necessities.

Gift cards are likable.

Statistics show that a lot of people do not mind receiving this type of present over traditional options. After all, it is a win-win offer. With it, the receiver can now get to choose what they take home. If you are notoriously picky, have gift cards first in your wish list. It is probably made for you!

Gift cards can help you save money in the long run.

This is especially true for people who think that they almost have everything they want and would rather spend their money on many valuable things instead. With this type of present, a lot of potential savings from the monthly budget can be realized.  

The convenience of giving/receiving gift cards in both parties is undeniable.

With the help of the CARD Act, the receivers can use them however they want to without worrying on the fees.  Checking balances online also makes it more convenient for the receiver’s part. With this, the latter will be able to know how much is left before shopping.

Gift cards are less likely to be wasted than regular gifts.

People who are not okay with this claim that a lot of unwanted gift cards are put to waste every year. This may be true but another fact actually shows that nearly $50 billion worth of regular presents are returned or rejected each year and the majority of these comprise of unwanted clothing. Now, which is better?

Important Tip for Gift Card Lovers

Gift cards are a great option that you can give to your loved ones. But before you pick one, make sure that it is usable for stuff that your receiver likes. Also, adding a personal touch to it does not hurt.


For instance, after you carefully thought of buying one from a store or a restaurant to show your loved one that you have put some thought to it. Do this by adding a personal, handwritten note to make it feel like a special present.  

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