Gift cards are a popular choice for those looking for a quick and easy gift-giving option. They can be purchased for a variety of retailers and can be used to buy anything from clothing and home goods to food and entertainment. But with so many different types of gift cards available, it can be hard to know which one to choose and how to use them effectively.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of gift cards available and offer some tips for using them to their full potential.
Types of Gift Cards
Retailer-Specific Gift Cards
Retailer-specific gift cards are the most common type of gift card. They can only be used at a specific retailer or group of retailers, and often come in predetermined denominations. These gift cards are a great option if you know the recipient’s favorite store or if you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves to shop at a particular retailer.
Open-Loop Gift Cards
Open-loop gift cards, also known as network-branded gift cards, are a type of gift card that can be used at any store that accepts the card’s brand, such as Visa or Mastercard. These cards often come with activation fees and other charges, but they offer more flexibility than retailer-specific gift cards. Open-loop gift cards are a great option if you’re not sure what the recipient’s favourite store is, or if you want to give them the freedom to choose where to shop.
E-gift cards are digital gift cards that can be purchased online and delivered via email or text message. They can be used online or in-store, depending on the retailer. E-gift cards are a convenient option for last-minute gifts or for sending gifts to someone who lives far away.
Mobile Gift Cards
Mobile gift cards are similar to e-gift cards, but they’re stored on the recipient’s mobile device. They can be used in-store or online, depending on the retailer. Mobile gift cards are a great option if the recipient doesn’t have a printer or if you want to send them a gift that they can easily carry with them.
Using Gift Cards Effectively
Now that you know the different types of gift cards available, it’s important to know how to use them effectively. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your gift cards:
Check the Balance
Before you start shopping with your gift card, make sure you know how much money is on it. You can check the balance online or by calling the customer service number on the back of the card. Knowing the balance will help you avoid overspending and ensure that you use the full value of the card.
Use Them for Sales
Gift cards can be a great way to save money during sales. Keep an eye out for sales at your favourite stores and use your gift card to take advantage of the discounts. This is a great way to stretch the value of your gift card even further.
If you have multiple gift cards, you can often combine them to make a larger purchase. Check with the retailer to see if they allow gift card combining, and if so, how to do it. Combining gift cards can be a great way to make a big purchase without spending any of your own money.
Use Them for Everyday Purchases
Don’t save your gift cards for special occasions or big purchases. Use them for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, and household items. This will help you save money on your regular expenses and make your gift card go further.
Keep track of expiration dates
Many gift cards have expiration dates, so be sure to use them before they expire. Some retailers may also charge dormancy fees for unused cards after a certain period of time. Keep track of these dates and fees to avoid losing the value of your gift card.