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Why I Hate Gift Cards

OK. I know gift cards are THE hot gift item this year. They make it easy to give a gift without worrying if it will fit or be the right color. However, the problem is that, unlike cash, a gift card prevents the recipient from saving any of the gift. 

While gift cards are great for the retailers and the economy, they force the recipient to buy something when they might rather enjoy an experience like attending a performance (musical, symphony, ballet, etc.-- support the local performing arts). 

Psychological research confirms that we value experiences more than things (and gift cards are usually for retail stores or restaurants-- while dining out can be an experience, most of us don't need more calories). BUT, most of all, unlike a check or a few crisp bills, gift cards do not allow the recipient to save any of the gift or to donate to charity. 

This is of particular concern when the recipient is a child. A persistent theme through the focus group research I've conducted with women is the desire to teach their children better money management than what they learned. Teaching children the importance of saving and sharing (through donating to a charity that means something to them) should be part of the holiday season. 

With unemployment, underemployment and over-indebtedness plaguing so many families, some adults really could use the money to pay their bills rather than buy another sweater. 

For those who are determined to give gift cards (& for recipients), please check out the advice of the Federal Trade Commission: "FTC Has Gift Card Tips for Holiday Buying" Be aware, that despite the new federal protections, gift cards can still expire, charge inactivity fees, and charge a fee to purchase the card! 

Whether you are the buyer or the recipient of a gift card, check out the FTC's tips. For example: "Avoid online auction sites, because the cards sold there may be counterfeit or may have been obtained fraudulently."

Happy Holidays, 
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Why I Hate Gift Cards
Why I Hate Gift Cards
Reviewed by Pisstol Aer
Published :
Rating : 4.5