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The case for gifts cards

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Gift cards or cash during the Christmas season is an alternative to buying someone something they don’t want or require. It can also make it easier for those who are short in time or inspiration and don’t want it wrong. Far from a last resort, they can be a Christmas saviour for everyone.

Gift cards can give you the advantage of feeling that you’ve put more thought into the present. Don’t view cash as second-best. This means that you’re not binding one person to something specific and there’s no limit when it comes to what they can spend their money on.

It’s totally fine to choose either route, depending on what you prefer and what you’re purchasing for. To make it easier with this decision, here are the pros and cons that will help you determine if present cards will be your way to choose this year.

The case for gift cards

If you know people’s interests and hobbies or even if you’re not – there’s an opportunity to purchase a Christmas gift card for them. There’s no doubt that the UK present card market has been estimated to be worth $7 billion, which makes it an extremely popular choice. Here are a few reasons for this:

Gift cards can be personal but not too specific.

The large retailers offer an alternative that is more general in nature which allows customers to purchase almost anything they want from them. It shows that you know which stores they frequent and the type of products they are interested in, but still want to let them decide.

With an all-store gift card they’ll be able to pick what they’d like to buy from a wide range of shops and outlets. Also, you can choose smaller, less specialist stores and small businesses for those who already shop there, or would like to.

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According to the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVS), during Christmas 2020 56% of UK gift cards bought were issued by retailers that were single. Therefore, people are ready to choose a targeted approach.

You can buy them an experience, instead of other things.

To be more mindful about your purchases and as the majority of us already have plenty of things, gift cards for experiences might be more appealing.

A bigger budget can get supercar track days, flying lessons and spa days that people might not shell out on for themselves. But there are plenty of alternative options that are less expensive and niche too, including pet photoshoots or forests Segway rides paddle-boarding, alpaca trekking, afternoon tea and meal kits.

If you’re planning to be the one who gets to be the other, you might want to ensure that it’s something you have a passing interest in too. It’s certainly a present to the recipient, but they’re probably to gain more enjoyment from an experience in fishing with carp for two people if they don’t keep declaring that you’re cold, while looking over your watch.

Cards for gifts are simple to purchase and to send to customers who need to buy last-minute items

If you’re not a fan of being surrounded by crowds of grumpy shoppers, or you prefer to wait until the last minute it’s a great present for the recipient too.

There are physical cards available in stores and supermarkets however the ease in using digital gifts cards as well as their ability to customize them is hard to contest. You can usually schedule it to send whenever you like and never have to worry about the delivery date.

GCVS research from 2021 indicates that 42.7 percent of buyers of gift cards prefer buying gift cards online and nearly half (47%) of them prefer to redeem them online. In December 2020, as many as one in four Brits purchased the gift card of someone else in part because it is relatively safe and a simple method to gift presents during lockdown restrictions.

If you think 12 digits don’t exactly shout Christmas, you’ll save the plastic used for a single use that many gifts that are physical made of. Most stores let you pick the right design or animation on e-delivery for free, in the event that it makes to make the delivery more personalized.
Gift cards can encourage the recipient to pamper themselves

Although some gift cards could technically be used for a regular shopping Gift cards are created in order to encourage people to pamper themselves.

Some people don’t like or have the money to spend money on things they don’t really need but would appreciate. When you gift a gift card to someone, you’re granting them permission and the means to do that without guilt.

The issue of gift cards

Are you tempted to go with the gift card route? Before you decide consider it, you must know:

There are limitations on the places they are able to use them.

There are generally restrictions on where gift cards can be redeemed and what they can be spent on. So if you’re looking for a specific, make sure it’s an item that the recipient really like , otherwise it will never get spent or, at best, may be sold on the market for gift cards.

Gift cards usually have an expiry date

According to Cardyard an exchange site for gift cards site, every calendar year, in UK gifts worth $300 million are unused and never used. That’s a huge amount of money that is wasted.

While most gift cards have an extremely long time frame to use them, but unlike cash, they will come to an expiration date at which they’re no longer valid. It’s different, so make sure you make sure you read the fine print before you buy. You may want to tell the person you are buying for.

Larger retailers, like John Lewis, ASOS, Boots and GAME and GAME, offer 24 months following the date of the issue to expire, with Amazon gift cards in it for the long haul, which lasts 10 years. National Book Tokens last for 8 years. However, if you don’t want to use it within the time frame, you may ask that it’s replaced with the new version.

Check the terms of the card, so you know when it’s expiring. If it’s an experience be aware of the date that reservations have to be made, and remember that the conditions of the gift card could differ from the conditions of the venue.

If they misplace it, you’ll be lucky to be given the opportunity to purchase a replacement

The string of numbers or card with a scratch-off section could be easily lost or destroyed. If the situation occurs, it’s worth making contact with the store to inquire whether it’s possible to issue a new card to ensure that it won’t be lost.

If the terms and conditions stipulate that a store will take it on, you’re relying on the goodwill of their customers. It’s also dependent on the buyer admitting that they’ve lost it and for some, this could be more difficult that it’s value.

Providers and retailers can cease to exist

The list of high-street stores that have gone out of business, including Topshop and Debenhams might be enough to sound an alarm bell.

If a business goes under it is the company’s administrators who decide how to handle gift card transactions in circulation. When it comes to creditors of a retailer, gift card purchasers are considered unsecured creditors, who are treated as a less important, compared to secured and preferential creditors. So you’ll be lucky to get the full amount that you made back.

When Arcadia was placed in administration in November 2020, only 50 percent of the value a Topshop gift voucher could be used. Additionally, Debenhams has stopped accepting gift cards at the end of December in 2020, following the company’s demise.

If you purchase a gift card with at least $100 or more with a credit card but it’s not honoured by the retailer then you might be able to file a claim under Section 75 under the Consumer Credit Act or use the chargeback option when you purchased the purchase using an debit card there are no guarantees.

It is still necessary to think about it

Although you may be able to express your personal interests and values by giving buying a gift card from an environmentally-friendly brand, make sure that you’re considering the person’s interests rather than your own. Also, consider that certain activities like gaming will require a gift card specific to the console they use.

Most people do not want to take an outdoor course or learn about bushcraft, even though the abilities could be useful in the future. Therefore, unlike when you gift cash, you may still need to talk with their closest and dearest and the recipient, to find out what sort of thing they like doing.

What they’re looking for might not exactly correspond to the value of the card.

If they’ve found what they want, it’s unlikely to be neatly divided in the overall. It’s likely that there will be a few pounds thrown away and they’ll be required to make up the difference.

After one transaction, if you have less than five bucks there, the tendency may be to overlook using it, or to find out the balance.

In the average UK shoppers spend 35 percent more than the value in the present card in accordance with the GCVA. So in some respects, they may encourage overspending and use their own money.

The argument in favor of cash as the gift

There’s no any doubt about the fact that money is the more obvious option. If you’re able to overcome the notion that it’s not personal or involves lesser thought, the pros are strong:

It can be used nearly anywhere, any time

There is no clock ticking and there’s no limit to what they can spend it on. While treats may be the intention of the gift-giver They can also save or invest the money in the event that they wish to do.

Is it really that bad even if it ends as a handout to pay for other expenses when funds are not as good? With cash, the beneficiary has the option of deciding.

You can eliminate the uncertainty

Even a generic gift card will assume that they are fond of the store and that they can discover anything they desire there.

Cash stops second-guessing. Also, this year, you won’t have to send that annual email to your brother, asking him what his nephew is up to these days. Most people don’t have the time for enough hours with loved people to get clues about what they like this is the reason the versatility of money can be a winner.

For others, offering cash is a lot easier than getting to comprehend what younger members of the family actually are seeking.
No transaction, no fuss

If you’re visiting them in person during the Christmas season You can give them cash in a crisp envelope without having to interact with the retailer or weighing postage charges. This can be a relief for those who wish to give gifts but, for a variety of reasons, prefer not to buy online.

You can transfer money to the bank transfer

Now that fewer consumers are using physical cash in transactions What could be more convenient for both sides than a direct transfer to the bank of cash in exchange for an item of a particular value? It’s easy, and it’s free within the UK and you don’t need to hunt for an ATM and then hope that it will kick out fresh notes rather than crumpled specimens.

There’s always a risk transferring money into their account will increase the chance to be spent on expenses – and you’re not able to just wrap a bank transfer with a festive ribbon there are ways to earmark the money for a specific purpose.

It is possible to ask them what they’d like to hear from you and then transfer the amount you wish to that. Then, they can purchase it from the most trusted supplier and arrange for delivery that is convenient for them. The research conducted at Stanford University suggested that people liked receiving gifts they asked for more than gifts they did not ask for therefore this is an effective way to accomplish this.

Although cheques are decreasing in usage, they remain an option. Additionally, certain banks can accept digital images of the cheques via their app to make the process faster and easier.

Most people prefer to receive cash

A handful of surveys suggest that people generally prefer to receive cash as a gift from friends and family, even though they would prefer to give gift cards. The most popular gift choice for 35% of those in the 2021 US Cardtronics survey was cash, with just 66% opting for gift cards.

However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want the gift card, this could suggest that we’re after an easy shopping experience without feeling obligated or restricted. Not only can we get what we desire, but there’s no conditions, terms or balance checking requirements.

The argument against cash as an offering

In general, cash is an extremely secure option in all the reasons mentioned previously, however there are some downsides:

Cash can be a bit impersonal

Cash isn’t the best option to personalise the gift or show that you know the things they cherish and wish to share that with them. However, is it really that important? Overcoming this hurdle is only half the battle and nothing can say that you don’t have a relationship with someone better than an item they’ll likely never utilize.

Added to that, people might just as likely to feel awkward querying the value of the gift card, even if it is not stated.

It can be difficult to deliver

If you need to send your gift to the person you wish to send it in lieu of through a bank transfer or by hand, Royal Mail advises sending it by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed mail.

Make sure it can’t be seen through the envelope and do not send coins because they could cause problems with sorting machines and cause damage to the envelope.

Keep in mind, however, that money encompasses vouchers, coupons and cards So the same postal method is applicable to gift cards.

It’s possible to send money overseas with international tracking. However, there are certain countries, like Italy and Poland, where you can’t transfer money to from the UK Always make sure you are aware of this.


There’s no wrong or right option to give someone the gift of Christmas. Cash and gift cards are an excellent option for those who want to cut down on expenditure and allow the recipient the flexibility to choose what they will buy and when.

If you’re a last-minute or hesitant holiday shopper whose present wrapping leaves a lot to be desired, you won’t really go wrong with either.

However, cash isn’t as risk-free If it’s not suitable for you, there are many gift cards to choose from. Just give the recipient an incentive to use the card before it expires or your only gift will be for the retailer.