You have a list of folks you wish to send gifts to. Most are out of state. Then there are your immediate siblings. Some you know well. Others? You just don’t possess a clue as to what half of them like? So you consider giving them something special certificate. After all money doesn’t grow on trees. The truth is with the expense of gas doubling in the last couple of years, inflation on our heels Chipotle Gift Card Balance Check and the growth in family reunion attendance, offsetting the cost of gift giving by finding low priced items that every body loves has become a much greater challenge then it ever has been. Thus the growing popularity of gift cards.
The National Retail Federation anticipated $17.24 billion worth of holiday sales last year in gift cards. The reasons gift cards are so frequently bought instead of other items are numerous. No one wants to give a gift that’s not appreciated. In addition, who would like to burden down an aging relative with needing to drive several miles to a store she nevers shops as a way to exchange the gift.
All too true. For example, what if you give a gift card from a sporting goods store to someone who’s not into sports? Or perhaps a gift to shop a jewelry store to a person who lives too great a distance from the store to even bother to shop there.
But has the gift card changed all that much in the last three or even more years? Perhaps. Prepaid gift cards issued by VISA and MasterCard provide a way to use a gift card anywhere bank cards are accepted. Prepaid debit card issuers and 60 percent of store gift credit card providers offer the potential to obtain a replacement card with the remaining balance if the initial is lost or stolen. But getting a replacement may necessitate the purchase receipt and the card number. Some companies may accept other proof of purchase. The gift card recipient would have to have all these papers to obtain a replacement. No wonder a substantial percentage of gift cards have gone unredeemed. Having said that, when buying a gift card, look carefully at the pre-purchase disclosures of conditions and terms on the internet site and the packaging in the store. If terms aren’t given or appear too cryptic to be complete don’t buy.
When a recipient receives a store issued gift card from the store they don’t like obviously the card just sits in a dresser drawer until it’s long past the expiration date? Are merchants pocketing the money while the gift card purchasers just throw away money? That was once the case. But companies like Sears announced it is eliminating expiration dates from all gift cards issued beginning December 17, 2003. Other credit card providers have already been quickly following suit.
In addition to less expiration date worries there are now a handful of companies dedicated to redeeming major retail gift cards for recipients of unwanted, unredeemed gift cards. One site, thegiftassistant.com, offers gift card ordering, redemption programs and gift card exchanges. Many of these companies offer services for such card issuers as Best Buy Starbucks and Outback SteakHouse. Still with all the recent changes in favor of the recipient losing the impersonal commercial stigma associated with gift cards has been a challenge.
Some gift card websites have attended great lengths to overcome this obstacle. Now you can upload your own images and add your own text to produce a custom card. Embossed text provides card that engraved look, a very personal touch.
Still with all the current work to personalize something special card they still appear to need help to stick out in the crowd of handmade cards and gift bags. After all something special card is four times smaller that a simple credit card and weighs only a few ounces. Does this mean that gifts card don’t have what must be done to stick out among large presents? Some issuers compensate for this by upping the value of gifts cards. Some cards values far outweigh any large dominating boxed gift. From $200 to $300 or more. With the advent of prepaid debit gift cards from VISA, MasterCard, American Express and DiscoverCard folks can give a gift card valued at $500 to as much as $3000 dollars depending on the provider. Perhaps big things do can be found in small packages.