The Argument for Giving Gift Cards

Men arguing over a gift card

Photo by mitopencourseware

Very few people would argue against giving gift cards. Whether plastic, virtual or mobile, gift cards have been the number one item on Americans' holiday wish lists since 2007, and 2010 is shaping up better than ever.

With more than two-thirds of merchants now offering gift cards, there's very little they can't buy. Technology has caught up with the trend, with 42 percent of merchants providing an e-card option.

So what are you waiting for? Do you still have reservations? If so, I recommend you read the following arguments for giving gift cards this Christmas.

1. They're Desirable
See that statistic at the beginning of this blog post: The one that says Americans want gift cards more than anything else in their Christmas stockings? Pay heed, particularly when it comes to people who are notoriously difficult to shop for.

2. Save Money
Too few people know you can purchase gift cards for less than face value. (You can also sell and trade them, but that's another story.) Check out the cards on Gift Card Granny and you'll find all are sold for dollars off the face value. Even if you just use a card to buy groceries and other basic necessities, you can't help but save money.

3. Save on Shipping Costs
Shipping presents is expensive but many merchants will mail directly to the gift recipient at no charge or for a minimal fee. More retailers are now sliding those cards into cute little holders, so your loved one doesn't just receive a little rectangle of plastic on Christmas Day.

4. Convenience
Thanks to the CARD Act, gift-card owners can use them when and how they want without worrying about burdensome fees. You can wait a year or more and not lose any money off the face value. It's also possible to check gift card balances online, so you know how much is left before shopping.

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