You have a list of folks you wish to send gifts to. Most are out of state. Then there are your immediate siblings. Some you understand well. Others? You simply don’t have an idea as to what 1 / 2 of them like? So you consider providing them with a gift certificate. All things considered money doesn’t grow on trees. Truth be told with the expense of gas doubling over the past couple of years, inflation on our heels and the growth in family reunion attendance, offsetting the expense of gift giving by finding inexpensive items that every body loves is becoming a level greater challenge then it ever has been. Thus the growing popularity of gift cards.

The National Retail Federation anticipated $17.24 billion worth of holiday sales last year in gift cards. The reasons gift cards are so frequently bought as opposed buy vanilla gift card  to other items are numerous. No-one wants to give a gift that’s not appreciated. Additionally, who wants to burden down an aging relative with having to operate a vehicle several miles to a shop she nevers shops to be able to exchange the gift.

Mark Askew, founder of says, “Folks once believed that with a gift card you couldn’t fail attempting to please. And this seemed logical at the time. Thus as gift cards gained popularity many merchants jumped on the bandwagon. But until recently gift card weren’t all these were thought to be.”

But has got the gift card changed all that much over the past three or maybe more years? Perhaps. Prepaid gift cards issued by VISA and MasterCard offer a way to employ a gift card anywhere bank cards are accepted. Prepaid debit card issuers and 60 percent of store gift card issuers provide the potential to obtain an alternative card with the residual balance if the first is lost or stolen. But finding a replacement may require the purchase receipt and the card number. Some companies may accept other proof of purchase. The gift card recipient would have to have every one of these papers to obtain a replacement. No surprise a substantial percentage of gift cards have gone unredeemed. That said, when purchasing a gift card, look carefully at the pre-purchase disclosures of terms and conditions on line site and the packaging in the store. If terms aren’t given or appear too cryptic to be complete don’t buy.

So each time a recipient receives a shop issued gift card from a shop they don’t like obviously the card just sits in a dresser drawer until it’s long past the expiration date? Are merchants pocketing the cash whilst the gift card purchasers just dispose of money? Which was once the case. But companies like Sears announced it is eliminating expiration dates from all gift cards issued beginning December 17, 2003. Other card issuers have now been quickly following suit.

Along with less expiration date worries nowadays there are a handful of companies specialized in redeeming major retail gift cards for recipients of unwanted, unredeemed gift cards. One site,, offers gift card ordering, redemption programs in addition to gift card exchanges. A number of these companies offer services for such card issuers as Best Buy Starbucks and Outback SteakHouse. Still with all the recent changes and only the recipient losing the impersonal commercial stigma related to gift cards is a challenge.

Still with all the work to personalize a gift card they still seem to need help stick out in the crowd of greeting cards and gift bags. All things considered a gift card is four times smaller that a simple greeting card and weighs just a few ounces. Does this mean that gifts card don’t have what it will take to stick out among large presents? Some issuers compensate for this by upping the monetary value of gifts cards. Some cards values far outweigh any large dominating boxed gift. From $200 to $300 or more. With the advent of prepaid debit gift cards from VISA, MasterCard, American Express and DiscoverCard folks can give a gift card valued at $500 to as much as $3000 dollars depending on the provider. Perhaps big things do can be found in small packages.

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