Last holiday season spending on traditional gift cards reached a record $91 billion. Enter the new improved gift card: the DIGITAL card.

The market for digital cards has doubled in the last three years as more and more shoppers and those who love to bear gifts are taking notice.

Advantages To Digital Gift Cards

They can be delivered through email so you don't have to deliver it in person or put it in the mail and worry if it got to the recipient.

  • The recipient doesn't have to redeem them at a brick-and-mortar store.
  • If they're lost, a new one can be sent immediately through email.
  • They're green; no plastic has been issued.
  • One less thing to carry in your wallet, which can be stolen.

What Are The Rules For Digital Gift Cards?

  •  Inactivity fees: dormancy fees cannot be imposed unless the card has been unused for at least 12 months.
  • Inactivity fees must be disclosed; the amount and frequency must be clear.
  • Gift cards cannot expire for at least five years after they were last loaded with money.
  • Cannot charge a replacement fee.

 What To Look For When Buying A Digital Gift Card:

  1. Read the fine print; it gets you every time. See if it has to be used on line. It may not be printable and able to be used at a brick-and-mortar store.
  2. Presonalization. ALWAYS take advantage of this. Many cards let the sender write messages; some will even allow the giver to deliver the card to the recipient's Facebook wall. That way EVERYBODY who visits the recipient's wall will know they received a gift and it might make others follow suit.
  3. A service number. In the event something goes wrong, it's nice to have a phone number where either the giver or the receiver can call and get a live person to help them out.
  4. Stay with the retailers you trust. Do your due dilligence, as you would with any purchase; make sure the store isn't on the verge of shutting down.
  5. Give the recipient a head's up. That way they'll look for it in their in-box, escpecially if the gift card is for over $100 or if it's with one of the recipient's favorite retailers, one you may be unfamiliar with.
  6. Take advantage of the email preview. As a giver, you get to see how it will show up in the recipients' in-box; if it isn't obvious, let the recipient know it's coming.
  7. Try and obtain delivery notifications. Look for cards that allow you to choose the delivery date and let you know when the card and email are opened. With some cards, the recipient can reply directly to you.

 Will the next gift card you give be digital?

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