Ask your average consumer what gift he or she would most like to receive and the answer is simple: a gift card. According to one recent survey, in fact, gift cards remained the most popular item on last year’s holiday wish lists, requested by 61 percent of the survey’s respondents.
Impressed with the continued popularity and natural versatility of gift cards for all celebratory occasions, RewardExpert reached out to GiftCards.com, one of the nation’s most respected gift card retailers, to learn more.
Shelley Hunter, the company’s Gift Card Girlfriend, chatted with us about the website’s history, expansive gift card selection, and tips for making the most of every gift card you give or receive.
The Top Gift Card Website
Launched in 1999 under the name directcertificates.com, the company began as a gift certificate website offering consumers gift certificates from more than 150 different merchants. After changing their name to GiftCards.com in 2003 and shifting their focus to digital and physical gift cards from Visa and other retailers, the company was acquired by Blackhawk Network in 2016.
Through this acquisition, GiftCards.com has become part of a larger family of websites including cardpool.com, omnicard.com, giftcardmall.com, nimblecommerce.com, and incentivecardlab.com.“GiftCards.com is the top gift card retailer,” said Hunter. “We’ve sold over 8 million gift cards and counting. With hundreds of retail, Visa, Mastercard, and experiential gift cards to choose from, it’s the top site for finding the perfect gift card.”
Time-Saving Convenience and Unrivaled Security
Visitors to GiftCards.com will find hundreds of gift cards for popular retailers as well as restaurants, spas, hotels, and airlines. Discount digital and physical gift cards are also available for as much as 22 percent off the original purchase price.
Hunter noted that visitors to GiftCards.com can order gift cards from multiple brands in a single purchase, saving customers the time required to visit individual brand websites when shopping for more than one recipient or occasion.
“In general, buying gift cards online is a great way to have increased security with your purchase,” she continued. “If the gift card is lost or stolen, GiftCards.com can generally help consumers by offering a replacement card because our system records the purchase and the card number. This is much harder to do if you purchase physical gift cards in stores.”
Making the Most of Every Gift Card Experience
Hunter, has been blogging about gift cards since 2009.
“I’ve always loved receiving gift cards,” she said. “I love the freedom and the flexibility to buy whatever I want. And as a giver, I like the convenience of being able to easily pick up a gift knowing somebody else will get to have that same experience.”
She joined GiftCards.com in 2014 and is now the company’s go-to expert on gift card maximization. Hunter shared a few tips with RewardExpert for readers who want to make the most of every gift card experience.
- Consider the recipient. Hunter noted that the safest gift cards to give are ones to stores or restaurants that you know your recipient enjoys. “Whether its to the clothing store your mom likes to visit or the gas station where your kids fill up their tanks, that’s a guaranteed gift card you know they’ll be able to use,” she explained.
- Make sure it’s convenient. If you want to be more adventurous in your gifting—perhaps encouraging your best friend to give a new salon or boutique a try—Hunter emphasized the importance of considering convenience. “You have to realize that you’re pulling somebody out of their typical patterns and habits,” she said.
- Options are always good. “Visa gift cards can be used anywhere,” Hunter added. “There are also an increasing number of gift cards that offer more choices, such as Spa Finder gift cards that can be used at thousands of salons or spas across the country. Or even a gift card like the Gap Options gift card that is usable at Banana Republic, Athleta, Gap, Baby Gap, and Old Navy. The recipient won’t be locked into any one place.”
- Carry your gift cards in your wallet. If you often forget to spend the gift cards you receive from others, Hunter suggested keeping them on you whenever you shop. “I keep mine near the debit and credit card I pull out most often,” she explained. “That way I’m frequently reminded that I have gift cards to spend.”
- Cash out remaining balances. It’s not always easy to spend every cent on a gift card. Hunter noted that several states have enacted laws that require retailers to give you cash for the money remaining on the card once the balance falls below a certain threshold. “Some merchants make it a policy as well regardless of location,” she added. “Just ask the cashier if you can cash it out.”
- If you’re never going to use a gift card, sell it. You can unload unwanted gift cards at GiftCards.com’s sister website, Cardpool. Earn up to 92 percent cash back on plastic gift cards, eGift cards, and even store credit from many popular retailers.