There are several ways in which you can gift someone. For instance, you may opt to simply give them a hard cash gift. Or you may opt to give them a gift card instead. There are, of course, other options like those of buying (tangible) presents. But in this article, we will be focusing specifically on cash gifts and gift cards. We will be trying to see what the pros and cons of both cash gifts and gift cards are.
Cash Gifts Pros – Advantages of giving cash gifts
The main advantages associated with cash gifts are in terms of flexibility and convenience.
You see, hard cash can be used (almost) anywhere, and it can be used to pay for (pretty much) anything the recipient wants. In this regard, it is unlike a gift card: which tends to come with limitations in terms of where it can be used and, in some cases, what it can be used to pay for.
It helps too that hard cash can be used straightaway (upon being received). It is therefore unlike a gift card, which sometimes has to be activated or registered before it can be used.
Furthermore, hard cash transactions are largely anonymous. So the person to whom you gave a hard cash gift can use it without the fear that he is being monitored/tracked (in terms of what he is using the cash to pay for). Gift cards are different – because the moment you register a gift card, you associate the card with yourself, and the things you pay for using the card can possibly be tracked. You can get to see just how true this is whenever you check your gift card’s transaction history. But then, it may not be a big deal if you are not using the card for ‘sensitive’ things… Still, if anonymity is preferred, you use hard cash. Otherwise if you opt for a gift card, there may be a risk of it not being used, if the person you gave it to fears being tracked…
At yet another level, it is worth remembering that unlike gift cards, cash gifts don’t come with expiration dates. It is said that a great deal of money in gift cards ends up ‘going to waste’ when the cards reach their expiry dates without being fully utilized. When you give someone a cash gift, you don’t have such worries of it reaching its expiry date without being fully utilized!
Cash Gifts Cons
One problem with cash gifts is in the fact that they are so impersonal. Gift cards, on the other hand, tend to be more personalized. This is very important, when it comes to gifting because as we all know, it is the gesture that counts. Sometimes, when you give a cash gift to someone who is not needy, you fear that the whole thing may be misinterpreted. But with gift cards, such fears are allayed.
Another problem with cash gifts is in the fact that they can be potentially misused, or even abused. Like, for instance, if you are gifting a kid/teen, and you give him a big amount of cash (in the name of a ‘gift’), there is no knowing what he may use the cash for. For instance, whereas it is highly unlikely that a gift card could be used to pay for drugs or for gambling, hard cash can very easily be used for such things.
Gift Cards Pros- Advantages of giving gift cards
One advantage associated with gift cards is in the fact that they are more personalized than cash gifts. Cash gifts feel rather impersonal, almost cold (and may sometimes be perceived as ‘demeaning’). This can be very important if, for instance, you are trying to gift someone who is financially comfortable. You find that you can’t give him $100 because it would be a drop in the ocean. But when you give them a gift card, it feels better… It is the gesture that counts.
Another advantage associated with gift cards is in the fact that they have less potential to be misused or abused. It is highly unlikely that someone would use a gift card to pay for drugs or to pay for gambling. So the gift card can come in handy when you are trying to gift, say, a young teen yet whom you are afraid that if you give hard cash, it would be spent on ‘vices’.
Gift Cards Cons
One problem associated with gift cards (when they are compared to hard cash) is in the fact that they tend to come with all manner of restrictions. If, for instance, you received a certain store’s gift card, you may find that you can’t use the card to pay for stuff elsewhere. For instance, if you received a McDonald gift card, you can’t use it at Walmart. Even if you received, say, a Visa-branded or MasterCard-branded gift card that isn’t restricted to a specific store, you may still find that there are still some limitations. That is like where, for instance, you find that you can’t pay for certain things with the gift card or where you can’t use the gift card internationally.
Another problem associated with gift cards is in terms of cost. So you find that the gift card itself has to be paid for. If you are gifting someone $50 through a gift card, you find that you need to have the $50, plus, say, another $2 – $5 (depends on the card) to pay for the card itself.
Yet another problem associated with gift cards is in that they tend to have expiration dates, unlike cash. A lot of money in gift cards is said to go unused when they reach their expiration dates without having been fully utilized. Cash, on the other hand, doesn’t expire.