Whether you are shopping for a gift for the holidays or a birthday, a gift card can be appealing for the hard to satisfy gift recipient. Gift cards are not always the ideal gift choice though. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the purchaser and the gift recipient when you choose a gift card as a gift.
When shopping for gift cards, you might have to pay a little more for the card than it’s actual value. Some cards such as Visa and Mastercard gift cards have a fee called an activation charge. This can range from a couple dollar up to $6. In the end by purchasing this card, you are spending more money on the gift than the recipient is getting in benefits. Gift cards can also have minimum required values that may be higher than you are looking to spend if you are just looking to purchase a small gift for the recipient.
Of course these disadvantages have to be weighed against the risk of purchasing a different gift, which the recipient never uses. Gift cards are also small enough that shipping the cards is inexpensive, instead of paying expensive shipping costs for a heavy gift.
The recipient can purchase anything he wants with the gift card, as long as it’s within the value of the card. He can choose a fun or practical gift, depending on his own needs at the current time. If the recipient is visiting from out of town, it reduces the size of items that he is going to have to pack when returning home.
Gift cards are not always advantageous to recipients either though. If the recipient does not use the card without a specific amount of time, the issuing company may charge a fee reducing the value on the card. Another disadvantage is that if the gift card does not cover the entire cost of the purchase, the recipient might actually end up spending money he never intended to, because he is only buying the gift to use the gift card.
A final consideration when giving gift cards is that the gift card recipient might lose the card or it can be stolen. The cards are not registered to a specific individual, and therefore when it’s lost or stolen, the gift recipient might have no way to be reimbursed for his loss.