Cash or gift cards during the Christmas season is an alternative to buying someone something they don’t really want or require. It also makes things easier when you’re low in time or inspiration and don’t want to make it wrong. While they’re not a last resort, they could be a lifesaver for everyone involved.
Gift cards may have the advantage when it comes to feeling that you’ve put more thought into your present. However, don’t consider the cash option as a second-best choice. It’s not tied anyone to a specific item and there’s no limit as to the things they can spend it on.
It’s fine to go either option, based on your personal preferences and the person you’re buying for. For your convenience you decide, here are the pros and cons to help determine if gifts cards is the best way to take this year.
The case for gift cards
If you know the interests and interests of someone else – even if you’re not – there’s an opportunity to purchase a Christmas gift card for them. It’s a fact that the UK marketplace for gift cards is valued at around $7 billion, making it an extremely popular choice. Here are a few reasons:
The gift cards you purchase can be personalized but not too specific.
The major retailers offer an option that is more general that allows the customer to purchase everything from them. This shows that you are aware of where they shop and what kinds of items they prefer however, you still prefer to let them make the decision.
With the gift card that can be used across multiple stores, you can choose the items they want to purchase from a wide range of stores on the high street and outlets. You can also choose smaller, less specialist shops and small-scale businesses when you know that they already frequent the store, or prefer to.
Based on the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVS) in the Christmas season of 2020, 56 percent of UK gift cards purchased were from single retailers. Therefore, people are ready to adopt a more specific approach.
You can purchase them as an experience instead of other things.
To be more mindful about your purchases and since the majority of us have plenty of things, gift cards for experiences could be more appealing to you.
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If you have a bigger budget, you can enjoy Supercar Track Days, Flying Lessons, and spa treatments that one is unlikely to shell on themselves. However, there are many alternatives that are more niche and less expensive as well, such as pet photo shoots and forests Segway rides, alpaca trekking, paddle-boarding, lunch kits and afternoon tea.
If you’re planning to be the one to benefit from this situation, it’s best to ensure that it’s something you’re interested in as well. It’s certainly a present to them, but they’re more likely to enjoy more from the experience of fishing for carp with two if you’re not constantly telling yourself you’re cold when checking your watch.
Gift cards are easy to purchase and then send out for those last-minute purchases
If you’re not a fan of being surrounded by the frenzied shoppers or prefer to put things off until last minute, it’s a great present for the person who gives it.
There are physical cards available at supermarkets and in shops However, the convenience that digital cards offer as well as the possibility of personalizing the cards is something you can’t contest. It is usually possible to schedule it to be sent at any time you want and not have to worry about postage.
GCVS research from 2021 indicates that 42.7 percent of buyers of gift cards prefer buying gift cards online , and more than half (47 percent) of them prefer to redeem the cards online. In December 2020, as nearly one-in-four Brits purchased an online gift card for someone in part because it is an extremely safe and simple method to gift presents during lockdown restrictions.
Although you might think that the 12-digit serial number doesn’t necessarily scream Christmas, you’ll save the plastic used for a single use that many gifts that are physical constructed of. The majority of retailers allow you to pick an appropriate design or animation for e-delivery no cost, if it makes the experience feel more personal.
Gift cards can encourage the recipient to indulge themselves
Although some gift cards can technically be used to pay for the shopping routine Gift cards are created to motivate people to indulge themselves.
Certain people aren’t keen to, or aren’t able to spend money on things they don’t really require but would like. By gifting a gift card you’re giving them the right to do so and the ability to spend it without guilt.
The issue of gift cards
Are you tempted to go with the gift card option? Before you decide you should know that:
There are limitations on the places they are able to use them.
There are usually restrictions on the places where gift cards can be used and what they can be used for. If you’re planning to purchase a particular, ensure it’s an item that the recipient really enjoy or else it could not be used or, at the very least, be sold in the marketplace for gift cards.
The majority of gift cards have an expiration date
According to Cardyard the gift card exchange website, each calendar year, in UK gift cards that amount to $300 million are unused and never used. This is a lot of money that is wasted.
Although most gift cards have an extended period of time for use, but unlike cash, there’ll be an expiration date at which they’re no longer valid. It’s different, so make sure you be sure to read the conditions before you purchase. It is possible to inform the person who will be buying it, too.
Larger retailers, like John Lewis, ASOS, Boots and GAME offer 24 months from the date of the issue to expire and include Amazon gift cards included to last for 10 years. National Book Tokens last for eight years. However, if you don’t make use of it during the time frame, you may request replacement with an alternative.
Review the terms of the card to know when it will expire. If it’s an event, be aware of the date that reservations are due, and remember that the conditions of the gift card could differ from the conditions for the event.
If they do You’ll have the chance to receive an alternative
The string of numbers or the card with a scratch-off feature can be lost or stolen. If this happens, consider asking the store whether it’s possible to reissue the card and all will not be lost.
However, unless the terms and conditions state that a retailer must take it on, you’re relying upon their reputation. Also, you’re relying on the person who received it to admit that they’ve lost their money and for some, this could be more uncomfortable that it’s value.
Providers and retailers can be shut down
The list of high-street stores which have gone out of the market, such as Topshop and Debenhams could be enough to sound an alarm bell.
If a business goes under and administrators are appointed, they decide on what happens to gift cards that are in circulation. In the case of creditors of retailers the purchasers of gift cards are considered to be unsecured creditors which is regarded as a lower priority than preferred and secured creditors. Therefore, you’ll likely receive the entire amount you have paid back.
When Arcadia was declared bankrupt in November of 2020, only 50 percent of the value of the Topshop gift voucher could be used. Additionally, Debenhams has stopped accepting gift cards in December 2020 following the company’s demise.
If you purchase an item with an amount of $100 or more using a credit card, and it’s not accepted by the merchant You may be able to claim a refund under Section 75 under the Consumer Credit Act or use the chargeback program when you purchased the purchase using the debit card. However, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee.
It is still necessary to think about it
Although you may be able to express your personal values and interests for example, the gift card of an environmentally-friendly brand, make sure that you’re considering the interests of your recipient more than you do. Consider that certain hobbies like gaming require a gift card that is specific to the console they play on.
It’s not everyone’s idea to take an outdoor course regardless of the fact that these skills could prove useful in the future. In contrast to when you offer money, you might require a conversation with your closest and dearest or the person who is receiving it to discover what they like doing.
The value they’re seeking may not precisely match the value of the card.
Once they’ve discovered what they’re looking for, it’s not likely to be a neat divisible from the whole. It’s likely that there will be some squandered dollars or they’ll need to cover the difference.
If after one purchase, you have less than five dollars the account, the likelihood could be to not use it, or to find out the remaining balance.
In the average UK consumers spend an average of 35 percent more than the amount that the card offers, as per the GCVA. In some ways they could encourage spending more and use their own money.
The argument for cash as an offer
There’s no any doubt about the fact that money is the most simple option. If you are able to get past the notion that it’s not personal or requires more thought, the benefits are clear:
It is able to be used virtually everywhere, at any time
There’s no timer to tick and there’s no limit on the amount they can do with it. While treats may be the goal of the person giving the gift but they are also able to save or invest the money should they choose to do.
What happens should it end as a handout to pay for other expenses when funds are limited? Cash is a form of payment, and the person who receives it is free to choose.
You can eliminate the decision-making
A generic gift card assumes that the recipient is familiar with the store and that they can get anything they need there.
Cash eliminates the second-guessing. This also means that this year, you don’t need to write that annual letter to your brother, asking him what his nephew is doing nowadays. It’s not everyone’s ability be able to devote enough time their loved ones to learn clues about what they like and that’s why the ability to make money flexible can be an advantage.
For some, the act of giving money can be much easier than coming to know what the children in the family are looking for.
No transaction, no fuss
If you’re visiting them in person during the holiday season it’s possible to give them cash in a crisp envelope without having to interact with the retailer or weighing the cost of shipping. This could be a great option for gift-givers who due to a variety of reasons, don’t want to shop online.
You can make use of the bank transfer
With fewer people making use of cash for transactions What could be more convenient for both sides than a transfer to a bank account of cash in exchange for an item of a particular value? It’s fast, cheap in the UK, and you don’t need to locate an ATM and then hope that it will kick out new notes instead of crumpled ones.
There is always a chance of transferring money to their account will increase the chance to be used for expenses – and you’re not able to cover a transfer from a bank in a ribbon that is festive – there are methods to reserve the money for a specific purpose.
You can ask them what they’d like from you, and then transfer the amount you wish to that. Then, they can purchase it from the most reliable source and schedule delivery for them. Research conducted by Stanford University suggested that people loved receiving gifts that they requested more than gifts they did not ask for therefore this is an indirect method of doing this.
Although cheques are decreasing in usage, they remain an option. Some banks are able to process digital images of cheques using their apps to make the process faster and easier.
The majority of people prefer receiving cash
A few surveys indicate that people generally prefer receiving cash gifts from family and friends, even though they would prefer to present gift cards. The preferred gift for 35% of respondents in the 2021 US Cardtronics survey was cash and only 6percent opting for gift cards.
Although this doesn’t mean that people do not want gifts cards however it could indicate that we’re looking for the convenience of spending without being compelled or constrained. We can not only get what we need, but there are no conditions, terms or balance checks required.
The argument against cash as an offer
In general, cash is an extremely secure option due to the reasons mentioned above. However, there are some disadvantages to it:
Cash may seem unreliable
When you buy something with cash, it’s difficult to personalize the gift or demonstrate that you understand the things they cherish and wish to be a part of that. What’s the point? The process of overcoming this is only the first step and there’s no way to prove that you don’t know anyone more than an gift card that they’ll likely never use.
In addition, they are likely to be uncomfortable asking the amount on the gift card, even if it’s not mentioned.
It can be difficult to mail
If you have to mail your gift to the person you wish to send it rather than via bank transfer or hand, Royal Mail advises sending it by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed mail.
Be sure that it isn’t visible through the envelope. Also, avoid sending coins because they could cause problems with sorting machines , and can damage the envelope.
However, keep in mind that the definition of money encompasses vouchers, coupons , and cards The same postal procedure applies to gift cards.
It is possible to transfer money overseas using international tracking, but there are certain countries, such as 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 method to present someone with an item for Christmas. Cash and gift cards are an excellent option for those who want to cut down on consumption and offer the person receiving it the freedom to pick the items they want to buy and the time of purchase.
If you’re a last-minute or hesitant holiday shopper who’s gift wrapping leaves plenty of things to be desired you won’t be wrong either.
Although cash is less risky but if it’s not the best option your style, there are many gift cards to pick from. Give the person you’re giving it to an incentive to use the card before it expires or the only gift you’ll buy is for the store.