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The Overall Benefits of eGift Cards vs. Normal Gift Cards

man looking at giftya app on iPhone
Photo from giftya

The popularity of eGift cards cannot be denied. As more and more people of all ages have Smartphones, it’s become more convenient and straightforward to give and receive eGift cards compared to conventional plastic gift cards. As people bring their phones everywhere, all it takes is a few taps or a scan to purchase and redeem an eGift card directly from a phone.

The Millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 1996) are more likely to enjoy receiving eGift cards than Gen X-ers or Baby Boomers. Still, every year, eGift cards grow in popularity for older generations as smartphones become more widespread.

But what are the overall benefits of using eGift cards instead of normal gift cards? Here are some helpful tips to understand the benefits and disadvantages.

The Top Five Benefits of eGift Cards

Compared to giving a gift card made of paper or plastic, eGift cards have several benefits for both the giver and the recipient.

  1. Flexibility:
    eGift cards can typically be purchased for any amount whereas traditional gift cards are often loaded with a pre-set amount. Being able to pick the dollar amount provides the purchaser with more flexibility.
  1. Instant Satisfaction:
    When you purchase an eGift card, it can be sent directly to the recipient through email, text message, or a brand’s app. This immediate delivery means you can easily surprise a friend or loved one with books, an NLP class, the latest ThinkLumi canvas print, or anything else in between.
  1. Convenient:
    eGift cards are easy to purchase — you can buy them online or in-person from both big and small stores. eGift cards are available for whatever your interests are! Home repairs, woodworking, or cooking? Smoking accessories, online fashion stores, or record-loving vinyl supplies? It’s easy to give a gift card that the recipient will love and appreciate.
  1. Easy to Use:
    Most eGift cards can be redeemed through a bricks-and-mortar store or online. While online shopping is convenient, you sometimes need to look at an item in person before purchasing.
  1. Impossible to lose:
    eGift cards are impossible to lose as there isn’t any paper or plastic card to hold on to. No remembering to put a gift card in your wallet – as long as you have your Smartphone, you’ll have access to your funds.

Once you give eGift cards a try, you’ll never want to go back to using standard gift cards!

The Five Disadvantages Of eGift Cards

After reading about the benefits of eGift cards, you might be ready to start purchasing them for all your friends and family members. But it’s important to remember that eGift cards might not be the right fit for everyone all the time. Here are five disadvantages:

  1. Technology:
    Because eGift cards are a more recent technology, some people may feel uncomfortable using them. They may dislike having to use their Smartphone to redeem the card.
  1. Wrong Email:
    When sending an eGift card, it’s essential that you use the correct email address or phone number! Make sure you double-check that it’s an address commonly used by the person you’re sending the gift card to. You may even want to let the person know they need to “check their email” for a pleasant surprise heading their way.
  1. No Pretty Box:
    Unlike a normal gift card, eGift cards can’t be wrapped up in a box with a fancy bow. For someone who likes opening traditional presents, getting an email message may seem less festive.
  1. Possible Restrictions:
    Some eGift cards may come with restrictions. When you’re purchasing an eGift card from a store with both a physical location and an online store, be sure to ask if the gift card can be used in both places. A business would rarely limit a gift card this way, but better to be safe than sorry.
  1. No Physical Reminder:
    An ordinary gift card is something that you’ll see every time you open your wallet. This visual cue often reminds the person to use the gift card! There is no reminder with an eGift card, so it may be easier to forget about it.

These disadvantages can generally be avoided by purchasing eGift cards thoughtfully and keeping what the recipient would like best in mind. While eGift cards have lots of benefits and are enjoyed by many, they aren’t the best fit for everyone, and that’s OK. There are still plenty of great gift card ideas to choose from!

eGift Cards: Know Your Rights

Whether you’re buying small business gift cards or eGift cards from a global retailer, the purchaser and the recipient need to know their rights. After all, purchasing a gift card is like buying an actual product or service, and federal and state laws provide regulations.

Federal laws forbid eGift cards and paper/plastic gift cards from having expiration dates under five years after the purchase date. So, if you bought a gift card on January 1, 2021, you’d have until January 1, 2026, to use it. Federal laws state that a service fee can be charged in some instances.

State laws for gift cards cannot be more restrictive than federal laws, and in many states, gift cards have no expiration dates or service fees. Before you buy any gift card, be sure to ask about any limitations. You can then give this information to the gift card recipient, which will allow them to enjoy their gift to maximum benefit!

Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and works closely with eGift cards company, giftya. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.

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