Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season? Go Electronic

One of the best things about technology is how easy it makes it to give gifts. This includes gift cards.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been able to send my brother-in-law Amazon gift cards via Facebook for his birthday. Being able to give gift cards instantly has been helpful, since it allows you to send money quickly, and the recipient can spend on whatever he or she wants.

Electronic gift cards seem like the natural evolution from plastic cards (which emulate the convenience of credit cards), since now we are seeing a generation that is used to paying electronically. In fact, a recent Bankrate report indicates that electronic gift cards are probably a better choice when you are giving to members of the younger generation.



Giving Where The Recipient Is

When giving gifts, it makes sense to give depending on where the recipient is at.

If you are giving to someone who prefers to have the card in his or her hands, it makes sense to get something plastic and substantial. And, for some recipients, it makes more sense to get a general purpose gift card. According to Bankrate, general purpose cards are the most popular, since they can be used anywhere — including online.

However, many of these general purpose cards charge purchase fees. But, the giver might not care, if the gift is one that he or she is happy to give, and that will work well for the recipient.

On the other hand, though, it can make sense to go the electronic gift card route when you give to millennials. The Bankrate report found that 40 percent of those aged 18 to 29 have actually lost a plastic gift card at some point. Plus, the younger generation is tech-savvy, and used to do more on the Internet, particularly with their smart phones. If you can provide an electronic gift card that can be used for online shopping, a millennial might get better use out of it, especially when you consider that mobile gift card use among millennials doubles that of their older counterparts.

Giving a gift is all about the recipient. As a result, it makes sense to know how the recipient is likely to want to receive the gift. Even though gift cards are sometimes derided as being thoughtless, the reality is that you can show that you have thought through the gift if you provide it in a medium that the recipient prefers, and if it offers something that the recipient will truly enjoy.

Double-Check Your Purchase

Make sure that your double-check your purchase before you go through with an electronic gift card, though. You want to make sure you are completing the transaction through a reputable provider. Additionally, you need to make sure that you are sending the gift card to the right place. I always triple-check the email address of the recipient before I send an electronic gift card. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you understand fees and other conditions before you click the purchase button.

Finally, if you’re going to buy a plastic gift card, consider purchasing them through a reputable website like, where you can find discounts on the cards you were going to buy anyway!

What do you think about gift cards? Are they a good idea? What about electronic gift cards?


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