Gift cards, both cash cards and store specific ones, have become popular for birthdays, graduations, and all other “gift giving” occasions. They present a unique and handy way to personalize an individual gift while still allowing the recipient to pick things according to their likes.
With retailers and banks reaping extra revenue, the question that comes is -“Are buyers always getting the raw end of the deal?” If you want to win this gift card game, you need to empower yourself. Retailers reap a lot of benefit from the wasted cards. Your goal, as a vigilant consumer, should be to keep retailers from reaping these benefits. It’s up to you to be a smart gift giver and a smart card user if you want to be a winner in the gift card game. Consider these three factors for gift cards:
Cash cards can be used anywhere, and they’re sponsored by companies like Visa and MasterCard. They offer a lot of flexibility as they are same as gifting cash and the person can use it as and when required before the expiry date, which is usually a year. Store cards are specific to a particular retailer or a chain and hence less flexibility. They can have an expiry date ranging from 30 days to a year. Most retailers will not allow you to exchange store cards for cash, so make sure to redeem them before the expiry.
Store cards usually do not have additional charges and are good for their face value. If your friend likes to go to a particular restaurant and you gifted him a store card worth Rs1000 of that restaurant then from his total bill Rs 1000 can be straight away paid by this card. These are perfect if you know about the likes and dislikes of the person.
Cash cards, such as Visa, charge a fee when issuing the card. ARs 1000 face value card will incur some additional charge for the buyer. If the person is a really picky gift recipient or simply seems to have everything, then going for a cash card will be a better option.
The expiry date can range from 30 days to a year in the case of store cards, whereas for cash cards it can be from 1 year to 5 years. Apart from expiry date, there is important information given in fine prints. Some cash cards are valid for five years, but they start charging a maintenance fee after 12 months, which can drain the card pretty fast. So, the recipient should make sure to use it within a year else the value of the card will erode drastically. Again some cards require being used once in three months.
Gift cards can make the gift-giving process easier, but both the giver and the recipient should be smart enough to choose and use it intelligently so that the money does not go wasted. If not for gift cards, you can always make use of coupons from Couponhaat or use Amazon coupons and grab good deals to give a personalized gift to your loved ones.