Pros and Cons of Gift Cards

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Retailers often offer gift cards to consumers as a means to shop or gift money to friends. Gift cards are of two types: physical and digital (e-gift cards). Each of them comes with their unique features and benefits.

Companies like Amazon, Target, and Walmart allow consumers to buy physical cards and also load digital or online accounts. With these digital accounts, users often get to print gift cards from their gadgets, and then redeem them or use the balances online via an app or website.

Major restaurant chains such as Chili’s, Chipotle and Starbucks also offer customers digital and physical gift cards. With these cards customers can conveniently pay for their meals and drinks via an app or in-store card reader to facilitate the checkout process.

Gift cards do not normally offer the benefits of credit cards.

Pros of Gift Cards

Gift cards make great gifts. Generally, for those who are concerned about loss of cash, one vanilla balance check may prove to be a good option. Digital gift cards may not be replaceable, but they aren’t prone to loss. To protect physical gift cards in the event of loss, they are usually registered.

The cards also help for controlling and watching the spending of younger shoppers by restricting amounts and locations where the card may acceptable.

Cons

One common downside of gift cards purchased in ranges of denominations is that small balances are usually left after purchases are made. Consumers often forget about the balance or find the too little for use. Retailers have realized this and used it to gain extra value out of gift cards.

Most gift cards have no time limits. Some let consumers to reload; hence these common “little balance” is eliminated. However, transactions like this may come with a monthly fee.