Gift cards or cash at Christmas is hands down more beneficial than buying someone something they don’t want or require. It could also make your things easier when you’re low in time or inspiration and don’t want it wrong. It’s not the last resort, they can be a Christmas saviour for everyone.
Gift cards can give you the advantage when it comes to feeling as if you’ve invested more thought into the present. However, don’t consider money as being second-best. It’s a sign that you’re not tying an individual to any particular thing, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to what they can spend their money on.
It’s totally fine to choose either of these options, depending on what suits you and the person you’re buying for. For your convenience to make the right choice, here are some pros and cons to help decide if gift cards are the best way to go this year.
The case for gift cards
If you’re familiar with their interests and likes – and even if not, there’s a Christmas gift card for them. This year, the UK gift card market is worth around $7 billion, making it a popular option. Here are a few reasons why:
Gift cards can be personal without being overly specific
The major retailers offer an alternative that is more general in nature which allows customers to buy just about everything from them. This shows that you are aware of where they shop and what types of products they enjoy but you’d rather let them make the decision.
With a multi-store gift card you’ll have the option of choosing what to buy from a range of shops and outlets. Or you can go for smaller, more specialist establishments and stores if you know they already shop there, or would wish to.
As per the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVS) in the Christmas season of 2020 56 percent of UK gift cards bought were for single retailers. Therefore, people are ready to adopt a more specific approach.
You can purchase them as an experience, rather than buying more things
To be more mindful of your choices and as the majority of us already have plenty of things to go around, experience gift cards could be more appealing to you.
If you have a bigger budget, you can enjoy racing days in supercars, fly lessons, and spa day experiences that one would be unlikely to splash out for themselves. There are plenty of niche, more affordable options as well, such as pet photo shoots, forest Segway rides, paddling, alpaca trekking meals and afternoon tea.
If you’re the plus-one in this event, ensure that it’s something you’re interested in as well. Sure, it’s a nice present to the recipient, but they’re probably to get more out of a carp fishing experience for two if you’re not constantly complaining about being cold while you check your watch.
Gift cards are easy to purchase and to send to last-minute shoppers
If you’re not a fan of being elbow to elbow with noisy shoppers, or perhaps you’re more inclined to postpone things until the last minute it’s a great present for the recipient, too.
It is possible to purchase physical cards at supermarkets and in shops However, the convenience that digital cards offer as well as the ability to personalise the cards is something you can’t argue with. It is usually possible to schedule it to send at any time and not have to worry about the delivery date.
GCVS research in 2021 indicates that 42.7 percent of people who purchase gift cards prefer to buy gift cards online and nearly half (47%) of them prefer to redeem them online. In December 2020, as many as one in four Brits purchased a gift card for someone, partly because it was an extremely secure and convenient way to give presents during lockdown restrictions.
If you think 12 digits don’t really scream Christmas, you’ll actually be saving one-time plastic that some physical gift cards are made from. Most stores let you pick the appropriate style or animation to e-delivery for free, in the event that it makes you feel more personal.
Gift cards can encourage the recipient to pamper themselves
Although some gift cards can technically be used to pay for the regular shopping however, gift cards are intended in order to encourage people to pamper themselves.
Certain people aren’t keen or have the money to buy things that they don’t actually require but would like. With a gift card, you’re giving them the right to do so and the means to do that without guilt.
The issue of gift cards
Are you convinced to go for the gift card route? Before you decide, it’s worth knowing that:
There are some restrictions on where they can be used
There are usually restrictions in the locations where gift cards may be used, and on what they can be spent on. So if you’re looking for a particular, ensure it’s a store the recipient does really enjoy or else it could never get spent or, at best, may be sold on the marketplace for gift cards.
Gift cards usually have an expiry date
According to Cardyard an exchange site for gift cards site, each one year within the UK gift cards of $300 million are unused and never used. That’s a significant amount of money that is wasted.
Though most gift cards come with an extended time period that you can use it, but unlike cash, there’ll be an end date when they’re no longer valid. This is subject to change, so you should read the terms before you buy. You might want to inform the person you are buying for.
Larger retailers, like John Lewis, ASOS, Boots and GAME offer an additional 24 months from the date of issue as the expiry date and include Amazon gift cards as well. for the long-haul, lasting 10 years. National Book Tokens last for eight years. However, if you don’t intend to use them in the period, you’re able to have it replaced by an alternative.
Be sure to read the terms of your card, to be aware of when it will expire. If you’re booking an experience, be clear about when bookings must be made by, and bear in mind the terms of the gift card may differ from the terms for the event.
If they do You’ll have the chance to be offered an opportunity to get a new one.
That string of numbers or card with a scratch-off feature can be easily lost or deleted. If it happens, you should consider making contact with the store to inquire whether the card can be issued again to ensure that it won’t be lost.
However, unless the terms and conditions of the contract say that a seller will do it, you’re relying upon their reputation. Also, you’re relying on the recipient admitting they’ve lost the item in some cases, which could be more difficult than it’s worth.
Retailers and providers can cease to exist
The list of high-street stores that have gone out the market, such as Topshop and Debenhams could be enough to set off the alarm.
Visit Card Tonic to find out which gift card has the highest rate.
When a company is insolvent it is the company’s administrators who decide which gift cards will be put into that are in circulation. In the case of creditors of retailers those who purchase gift cards are considered as unsecured creditors which is regarded as a less important, compared to secured and preferential creditors. You’ll probably receive the total amount you paid back.
When Arcadia was declared bankrupt in November 2020, only 50% of the value of a Topshop gift voucher could be redeemed. Furthermore, Debenhams stopped accepting gift vouchers in December 2020 following its collapse.
If you purchase any gift card that has at least $100 or more using a credit card and it’s not recognized by the seller it could be possible to claim a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or use the chargeback scheme when you purchased the purchase using credit card, even though there are no guarantees.
Still, you need to think about it
If you’re able to share your own interests and values like the gift card of an environmentally-friendly brand, make sure that you’re considering their interests more than yours. Consider that certain hobbies like gaming will need a gift card for the specific console they play on.
Most people do not want to enroll in an outdoor course regardless of the fact that these skills could prove useful one day. As with giving cash, you may need to talk with their closest and dearest or the person who is receiving it to learn what kind of activities they love doing.
What they are looking for may not exactly correspond to the value of the card.
Once they’ve discovered what they’re looking for, it’s likely to be a neat divisible of the total. So it’s possible there will be some squandered dollars and they’ll be required to make up the difference.
After one transaction, if you have less than a fiver on there, it’s likely to be to forget to use it or figure out the remaining balance.
The average UK consumers spend an average of 35 percent more than what they spend on the value in the present card, in accordance with the GCVA. In some ways they can encourage excessive spending or using their own money.
The argument for cash as an offer
There is little evidence that suggests cash to be the more easy option. If you are able to get past the notion that it’s not personal or involves less thought, the pros are clear:
It can be used nearly everywhere, at any time
There’s no timer and there’s no limit on the amount they can use it for. Even though treats might be the goal of the person giving the gift but they are also able to save or invest it, depending on what they’d like to do.
And is it so bad if it does end up being a helping hand towards other expenses when finances are tight? With cash, the beneficiary has the freedom to decide.
You can leave out the speculation
A generic gift card will assume that they are fond of the shop and can find anything they want there.
Cash will stop you from second-guessing. This also means that this year, you won’t have to send that annual message to your brother, asking him what your nephew is interested in these days. It’s not everyone’s ability be able to devote enough time their loved ones to learn clues about what they like, which is why the flexibility of cash can be an advantage.
For others, making a donation can be more straightforward than getting to know what the children in the family are asking for.
No transaction, no fuss
If you’re able to see them in person over the holiday season, you can hand over cash in a crisp envelope without having to interact with the retailer or weighing postage charges. This is a boon for some gift-givers who due to a variety of reasons, don’t like to buy their gifts online.
You can transfer money to an electronic transfer to a bank account.
In the present, when fewer consumers are using cash to make transactions So what’s more simple for both sides other than a bank transfer of the cash to pay for a specific gift? It’s quick, costs nothing in the UK, and you don’t have to search for an ATM and hope it sends out new, fresh notes rather than crumpled specimens.
There’s always a risk making a transfer to their bank account means it is more likely to be spent on expenses – and you’re not able to exactly wrap a bank transfer in a pretty ribbon there are options to allocate the money for a specific purpose.
You could ask them what they’d like to hear from you and then transfer the amount you want to put towards that. They can then buy it from the most trusted source and arrange delivery convenient for them. Previous research from Stanford University suggested that people loved receiving presents they requested more than those they didn’t therefore this is an interesting way to do this.
While cheques are waning in use, they are still an option. Additionally, certain banks will process digital images of cheques through their apps to make the process more convenient and faster.
Most people prefer to receive cash
A handful of surveys suggest that people generally prefer cash as a gift from relatives and friends, even though they would prefer to provide gift card gifts. The preferred gift for 35% of respondents in the 2021 US Cardtronics survey was cash, with just 66% opting for gift cards.
However, this doesn’t mean that we do not want the gift card, this does suggest that we’re in search of more convenience in spending money and not feeling restricted or compelled. Not only can we get what we need, but there are no conditions, terms or balance check required.
The case against cash as an offer
Generally, cash is an extremely secure option due to the reasons mentioned above. However, there are a few drawbacks
It can appear impersonal
Cash isn’t the best option to personalise the gift or let them know the things they cherish and wish to share in that. However, is it really that important? Overcoming this hurdle is only one of the biggest challenges and there’s no way to prove that you don’t know anyone better than giving them an item they’ll likely never utilize.
In addition, they will likely to feel uncomfortable asking the amount that’s on the gift card, especially if it is not stated.
It’s a challenge to deliver
If you need to send an item to an individual instead of through a bank transfer or by hand, Royal Mail advises sending it by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed mail.
Be sure that it isn’t seen through the envelope and be careful not to send coins, because they could cause problems with sorting machines and damage the envelope.
But bear in mind that the definition of money encompasses vouchers, coupons and even cards The same postal procedure applies to gift cards.
It’s possible to send money to another country using international tracking. However, there are a few countries, for instance Italy and Poland that you aren’t able to transfer money via the UK So make sure you be sure to check.
There’s no one right or wrong way to give someone a gift at Christmas. Cash and gift cards are a savvy option in order to minimize waste and give the recipient the choice of what they will buy and when.
If you’re a last-minute or insecure holiday buyer who’s gift wrapping leaves a lot of things to be desired you cannot be wrong either.
However, cash isn’t as risk-free, if it’s not suitable for you, there are several gift cards to choose from. Give the person you’re giving it to a nudge to spend it before it expires, or your only gift will be for the seller.