Whenever someone's birthday rolls around, that pressure of finding the perfect gift comes knocking. A new dress shirt? No, not sure what size dad wears. New earrings? No, pretty sure mom has a pair just like these. What about a gift card?
While you might think purchasing a gift card is lazy, impersonal and will just wind up lost in the junk drawer, this is actually the most frequently requested gift. In fact, gift cards have now been at the top of people's wish lists for nine consecutive years. A recent National Retail Federation study found that 58.8 percent of consumers said they would like to receive a gift card. Don't let a little piece of plastic fool you; this love-to-hate gift is actually secretly desired.
Here are six reasons why gift cards make the perfect present:
1. Quick and easy
Didn't realize your significant other's birthday is in two days, did you? Well, now it's too late to order those items you saved in your Amazon wish list and you have yet to sign up for Prime, and you don't have enough time to run to the mall because you're swamped with work. According to Cards and Gift Network, 81 percent of consumers purchase gift cards for a birthday, making it the most popular item purchased on this occasion.
2. Freedom of purchase
Instead of spending hours at the mall going in and out of stores only to end up with a simple pair of knee socks, opt for a universal gift card that can be used anywhere. This is like handing someone a wad of cash – and what's better than receiving cash?
3. No returns, no worries
Handing out gift cards for birthdays will give you some peace of mind because your loved one has the freedom to purchase what he or she wants – and you know your money isn't going to waste. You won't have to worry about that T-shirt not fitting and he or she won't have to worry about going back to the store to return it. It's a win-win.
4. Make it personal
If you're looking for a way to customize the gift card a little bit more, do so through the type of card you purchase and by the messaging on the birthday card. If your nephew is planning to study abroad, give him a gift card to add to his travel stash. Or, buy a massage gift card for your mom; you know she could use a day to relax.
5. No expiration date
Although the gift cards you gave your sister last year on her birthday are piled up on her desk collecting dust, they can be redeemed up until the expiration date – even if it's 10 years later – there is no rush. This is the perfect gift for those who are indecisive. This way, they can take the time to purchase something at their leisure, or when they finally come across a pair of shoes they simply cannot resist.
6. Always redeemable
It's easy to forget about gift cards and let them slip through the cracks or accidently toss them into the garbage. But with today's growing technology, the NRF noted that gift cards are increasingly accessible via mobile devices. This makes it easier for the recipient to keep track of his or her gift cards and always have them on hand. There are online services that allow you to upload gift card information and redeem the card from your smartphone. With the click of a button, you can check your balances and even continue to reload money to the card.