In 2021, the US gift card market was estimated to be worth around $313.4 billion! This huge figure says it all about the popularity of gift cards, in the US at least.
On the outset, birthday gift cards may seem like an obvious option for those who don’t know what to get for a friend or loved one’s special day. However, it is worth checking out the pros and cons of birthday gift cards before you go ahead and purchase one.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at all the potential pros and cons of birthday gift cards. We’ll also explore which options might be better than others. So let’s get started.
What Are Birthday Gift Cards?
For those who aren’t quite sure, here is a quick explanation of what birthday gift cards are all about. So, gift cards, in general, are prepaid cards that you can spend in particular stores and locations.
For instance, you can get prepaid gift cards for restaurants, retail stores, online stores, and so much more! It might be the case that a person buys one of these gift cards for someone’s birthday or various other reasons.
Types of Gift Cards
There are three basic types of gift cards. You can either purchase a closed-loop, open-loop gift card, or a multi-store gift card.
You can use open-loop gift cards in a variety of stores and locations that accept the particular card you have. For instance, you can get Visa gift cards that you can use in countless places. You can even buy gift cards with Bitcoin with open-loop capabilities these days!
Closed-loop gift cards are much more limiting than open-loop ones. You will only be able to shop in designated stores and locations with such a card. For instance, you can get these sorts of gift cards for use in large sporting, fashion, and restaurant chains.
The name “multi-store” gift card pretty much explains what one is. You’ll have the ability to spend on items in multiple stores. This is possible as different brands may team up to create these cards as a group.
Physical vs. Digital Gift Cards
We should also mention that you can often choose between purchasing a physical or digital birthday gift card for someone these days. Physical gift cards are a nice option for when you attend birthday parties and want to be seen giving something.
Digital gift cards might be more of an efficient approach to gifting. With these, the receiver gets a digital code they can use to purchase things online.
Gift cards vs. Presents
The main reason someone may get a gift card for a person’s birthday is that they are unsure what to buy for that person. It’s also the case that many people think that giving a gift card is a little more classy than just handing out cash to someone.
Let’s be honest, people return countless unwanted presents every year. A gift card is a way of giving a present in a way that can make more sense to many.
Pros of Gift Cards
The main pros of gift cards in summary are:
- No need for exchanges or return of gifts
- They make a great bonus gift
- They are super easy to purchase and send
- They look better than just handing out cash
- You can show that you remembered something that a person likes
Say, for example, you know that a person you are gifting to likes a particular fashion brand. Unless you ask them, how are you going to know their size? It’s a much better idea to get them a gift card for that specific brand so they can choose from themself and not have to return to a store to exchange or return a present.
When it comes to birthday ideas, some people like to give multiple smaller gifts. If this is the case for you, why not add a gift card into the mix? After all, they are super easy to purchase and send, whether you get a digital or physical one.
Also, you can get a gift card to spend at a certain store to remind the person that you care about and take notice of their interests. For instance, if the person you are gifting to likes fishing, then you could give them a gift card for their favorite fishing store.
Cons of Gift Cards
The main cons of gift cards in summary are:
- Some cards are very limited in their purchasing options
- People might see it as a “lazy gift”
- The receiver may end up spending their own money
- Many cards have an expiration date
In some cases, people give out a closed loop gift card to someone thinking they might already shop at that store. if the person has no interest in what that store has to offer, it’s kind of a useless gift. They may end up selling to someone else or even giving away as a gift later down the line.
Also, as much as some people love the idea of getting a gift card, others can see it as being a “lazy gift.” Plus, if you give a small amount of say $20 on a gift card, the receiver might end up having to spend more out of their own pocket to get anything worth buying from a particular store.
Finally, many gift cards have expiration dates. So, there is a chance that a receiver of one will forget about it and you will have given them a wasted gift!
Birthday Gift Cards Explained
You now have a much better idea f what birthday gift cards are all about. We recommend that if you are going to get one, try to purchase an open-loop option so that the receiver has plenty of places to choose from to buy themselves a gift.
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