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 in regards to what half of them like? So you consider giving them a gift certificate. After all money doesn’t Free Chipotle Gift Card Balance grow on trees. The fact is with the cost of gas doubling over the past couple of years, inflation on our heels and the growth in family reunion attendance, offsetting the price of gift giving by finding low priced items that everyone 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 reason why gift cards are so frequently bought in place of other items are numerous. No-one wants to provide a gift that is not appreciated. In addition, who would like to burden down an aging relative with having to drive several miles to a store she nevers shops so as to exchange the gift.
All too true. For instance, what if you give a gift card from a shoe 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 offer a way to use a gift card anywhere bank cards are accepted. Prepaid debit credit card providers and 60 percent of store gift credit card providers offer the potential to secure a replacement card with the remaining balance if the original is lost or stolen. But getting a replacement may require the purchase receipt and the card number. Some companies may accept other proof purchase. The gift card recipient would have to have all these papers to secure a replacement. No wonder a significant percentage of gift cards have gone unredeemed. That said, when buying a gift card, look carefully at the pre-purchase disclosures of conditions and terms on the net 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 a store they don’t really like obviously the card just sits in a dresser drawer until it’s long past the expiration date? Are merchants pocketing the cash as the gift card purchasers just dispose of 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 been quickly following suit.
Besides less expiration date worries nowadays there are 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 as well as gift card exchanges. Many of these companies offer services for such credit card providers as Best Buy Starbucks and Outback SteakHouse. Still with the recent changes and only the recipient losing the impersonal commercial stigma connected with gift cards is a challenge.
Some gift card websites have gone to great lengths to overcome this obstacle. Now you can upload your personal images and add your own text to make a custom card. Embossed text provides card that engraved look, an extremely personal touch.
Still with all the work to personalize a gift card they still appear to need help to stand out in the crowd of greeting cards and gift bags. After all something special card is four times smaller that a simple greeting card and weighs only a few ounces. Does this mean that gifts card don’t have what it takes 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 come in small packages.