When you don’t know what to give, and you’re standing there in the line waiting to pay for things, grab those gift cards. We know about three quarters of us give gift cards, and half of us put around $25 to $50 on those cards. At the end of the seasons, we’ll find that most of us spend an average of $163 on those cards. We’ll end up with $118 billion on gift cards. It’s so easy. They’re widely available. You can pick them up now at the grocery store and the drug store.
The question is: Which card do you give? We know for those younger people 18-29, they really prefer a MasterCard or Visa that they can use anywhere. We also know that those iTunes cards are the least likely to get used, so do away with those. For those that are over 65 that you want to give a gift card to, they really want a store card. That means you need to know your recipient, and make sure there’s a store nearby them that they can get to.
Now we can customize those cards. You can add a personal picture to them. You can even add a video in some cases. You do need to watch out for any fees. Those fees depend on the card. Read the fine print. MasterCard and Visa usually have fees somewhere around $2.95. Watch out for that.
We’re starting to see mobile cards where you don’t have a physical card. You send it by a mobile device. Those are still limited but gaining in popularity. The younger people are more likely to use those.
What happens if you don’t use those cards? As of 2008, we had $44 billion of unused gift cards out there. You can sell it or exchange it. Go to CardHub, CardPool, GiftCardRescue. You can get rid of those cards even if you’ve put some money on them and just have a partial amount. You can do an exchange or sell them and get a different card. That’s a way to use them.