I’m old enough to remember getting excited when my mother’s aunt would send me a check in the mail for my birthday or for Christmas. She lived in Ohio and I lived in Boston. As a kid, it seemed like magic that I could receive money from so far away and spend it on anything you wanted. My mother would take me to the bank so I could cash the check (all $5 of it). The experience seemed like the ultimate in gift giving at the time.
Now, convenience has reached a new level. Don’t even think about plastic gift cards. Physical gift cards are old fashioned when compared to the newest trend, e-gift cards also known as digital gift cards. You can simply visit your favorite online retailer and send a gift to your favorite nephew’s e-mail address (or even to their Facebook account). When they receive the e-mail, they can use the gift code online and, with some merchants, in a store. That’s convenience.
Digital gift certificates could also save you money. Think about all of the packaging and shipping charges you won’t incur by giving your gift electronically.
Just like ordinary old school gift cards, there are some things you should consider:
- E-gift cards are harder to lose because they are stored in the recipient’s e-mail. However, the e-mail can still be accidentally deleted, so be careful.
- As the gift giver, be sure to keep an eye out for a confirmation e-mail saying that the e-gift card was received. Just like any other purchase, hold on to your receipt.
- You should only buy digital gift cards from online retailers that you know and trust. There are scammers out there that will just take your money and run with it.
- As with any online shopping activity, you should be safety conscious. Only buy e-gift cards with a credit card. Use strong passwords and never give your passwords out to anyone.
- Processing e-gift cards and delivering them to the recipient may take as long as 48 hours.
- Take advantage of delivery options that allow you to personalize the gift card. Some retailers give you the ability to upload photos and send personalized messages that become part of the recipient’s e-mail. Some even allow you to pick the date the e-mail is delivered.
- When buying an e-gift card, be sure to understand if it can be used online, in a brick and mortar store, or both.
With digital gift cards, you have new options for giving to that daughter that returns everything you give her or that cousin that loses gift cards before they can be used. Think of them as one more option in your gift giving tool box.
If you are really old school like me, you could create your own gift certificates. Apprisen has printable holiday gift certificates that are perfect. You can download them here.