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The Best eGift Cards from Top Stores and Restaurants in 2021

If you’re going to send an egift card, then check out this ranking of the best eGift cards from nationwide stores, restaurants and apps in 2021.

new happy holidays gift cards

Looking for a last-minute gift? Here’s 200.

As egift cards are an increasingly popular choice for gifting, I am always looking for the experiences that make egift cards more personal and user-friendly. So, every year, I review egift cards from top stores and restaurants to see which ones allow me to personalize the digital delivery with a choice of egift card designs, personal photos or even video messages. I also look to see which egift cards allow me to schedule delivery and choose a custom dollar amount. I discovered that consumers want to know what egift cards look like and how they can be used. So I look for those things too.

The recap of my findings can be found here: Best eGift Cards of 2021

But in general, since 80% of all the stores and restaurants I visited now offer egift cards, I gave a nudge to those that offer more than one type of delivery plus those that allow for a better user experience with the following two important features:

  • eGift Card Preview

    Because egift cards are readily available but we don’t yet have a consistent experience (meaning interfaces for ordering, receiving and using vary by brand), I think it’s important to show (and consumers have asked for) a preview of what an egift will look like to the recipient. Before I send an egift card to my mom or other loved one, I want to know what that person will receive. Will it look like a gift or just another email? Will it feel special, or will it feel like…another email? I want to know.

  • Print-at-Home Option.

    Secondly, I am interested in brands that provide a printable egift card that be printed at home for in-person or other physical delivery. Of course, I can always email an egift card to myself, but I want the digital file to look like a giftable printable gift card rather than (as mentioned twice already) an email. It shouldn’t be hard. Pinners and other creatives have been putting printable quotes, charts, and other digital gifts on the Internet for years. (We even give consumers free gift card holders here.)

If you want to read more about my ranking criteria, hop down to the detailed eGift Card Ranking Criteria notes below. Otherwise, let’s get to it! Below is a list of top merchants and how they rank on the digital gift card features that I believe are most important.


eGift Cards for Top Stores and Restaurants

egift on a mobile phone

The best places to buy eGift cards, according to the egift card features I value most, are listed below for the following categories:

ApparelAutomotiveDepartment StoresDrug StoresElectronics and EntertainmentHealth and BeautyHobby and CraftsHome GoodsHome ImprovementMass MerchantsOffice SupplyPetsRestaurantsSporting GoodsSupermarketsTravelValue StoresBonus: Online Gift Card MerchantsBonus: Gift Card Apps

Find “Top 20 eGift Cards Overall” in the 2021 eGift Card Review.

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Apparel

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
American Eagle★★Email, Text
Gap★★★Email, Text
H&M★★★Email, Text
Athleta★★Email, Text
DSW★★Email, Text
Old Navy★★Email, Text
Banana RepublicEmail, Text
Chico’s★★★Email
Marshalls★★★Email
T.J. Maxx★★★Email
Adidas★★★Email
Journeys★★Email
AeropostaleEmail
Brooks Brothers★★Email
Claire’s★★Email
Coach★★Email
Abercrombie & FitchEmail
Ann TaylorEmail
Ralph LaurenEmail
Lands’ End★★★Email
J.CrewEmail
L. L. Bean★★Email
Forever 21★★★Email
Men’s WearhouseEmail
Urban Outfitters★★Email
Victoria’s Secret★★Email
Cole HaanEmail
ExpressEmail
Lane BryantEmail
NikeEmail
Under ArmourEmail
ColumbiaEmail
FootlockerEmail
Ross Stores

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Automotive

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Jiffy LubeEmail
Pep BoysEmail
Autozone

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Department Stores

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
JCPenney★★★Email
Nordstrom★★Email
Belk★★Email
Neiman MarcusEmail
Sears★★★Email
Boscov’s★★Email
Saks Fifth AvenueEmail
Bloomingdale’s★★★Email
Dillard’s★★Email
Macy’s★★★Email
Kohl’s★★★Email

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Drug Stores

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
CVSEmail
Good Neighbor
Health Mart
Rite Aid
Walgreens

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Electronics and Entertainment

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Amazon.com★★★Email, Text
AMC Theatres★★Email
Best Buy★★★Email
QVC★★★Email
Regal Cinemas★★★Email
American Girl★★★Email
Fandango★★★Email
Apple StoreEmail
Barnes & Noble★★★Email
GameStop★★★Email
XboxEmail
AT&T
Nintendo
PlayStation
SteamGame
Verizon

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Health and Beauty

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
AvedaEmail
Sephora*★★★Email
The Body Shop★★★Email
Ulta★★★Email
Bath & Body Works★★Email
General Nutrition Center (GNC)Email
Great Clips
Regis Salons
Sally Beauty

* With a $50 eGift card purchase, Sephora will treat the gift card recipient to a free custom makeover in addition to the $50 in product.

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Hobby and Crafts

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
MichaelsEmail, Text
Jo-Ann★★Email
Hobby Lobby

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Home Goods

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Bed Bath & Beyond★★★Email
The Container Store★★★Email
Crate and Barrel★★★Email
Williams-Sonoma★★Email
Yankee Candle★★Email
HomeGoods*★★★Email
IkeaEmail
Z Gallerie★-Email
World MarketEmail

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Home Improvement

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Ace HardwareEmail
Home Depot★★★Email
Lowe’s★★★Email, Text
True Value★★★Email
Menard

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Mass Merchants

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Target★★★Email, Text
Walmart★★★Email
Costco
Sam’s Club

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Office Supply

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Office DepotEmail
Staples★★Email

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Pets

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Petco★★★Email
PetSmart★★★Email

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Restaurants

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Buffalo Wild Wings★★★Email
Carrabba’s★★★Email
Chipotle★★★Email
Domino’s★★★Email
Fleming’s★★★Email
Pizza Hut★★★Email
Sonic★★★Email
Subway★★★Email
Boston Market★★Email
Cheesecake Factory★★Email
Chili’s★★Email
Cracker Barrel★★Email
Landry’s ★★Email
Macaroni Grill★★Email
Outback★★★Email
P.F. Chang’s★★Email
Papa John’s★★Email
Taco Bell★★★Email
Applebee’s*★★Email
Buca di Beppo★★Email
IHOP★★Email
Maggiano’sEmail
O’CharleysEmail
On The BorderEmail
Red RobinEmail
TGI Friday’sEmail
Burger King★★Email
Dunkin’ DonutsEmail
Panera★★★Email
Bonefish Grill★★Email
Olive GardenEmail
Bahama Breeze★★Email
Longhorn★★Email
Starbucks★★★Email
Yard House★★Email
Baskin RobbinsEmail, Text
Eddie V’sEmail
Roy’sEmail
Seasons 52Email
The Capital GrilleEmail
Arby’s
Chick-fil-A
KFC
McDonald’s
Wendy’s

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Sporting Goods

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
DICK’s Sporting Goods★★Email
Golf GalaxyEmail
Top Golf★★Email
Overton’sEmail
REI★★★Email
AcademyEmail
Bass Pro Shops★★Email
Cabela’s★★Email
Hibbett Sports
Big 5

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Supermarkets

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Whole Foods★★Email, Text
AlbertsonsEmail
Food LionEmail
Giant EagleEmail
KrogerEmail
SafewayEmail
Aldi
Giant Food
H-E-B
Meijer
Publix
ShopRite

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Travel

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
AirbnbEmail, Text
Hotels.com★★Email
Hyatt★★★Email
DeltaEmail
Marriott★★★Email
American Airlines★★★Email
Disney World ResortsEmail
Southwest AirlinesEmail
Hard Rock
JetBlue
MGM Resorts
Travelocity
United Airlines
Universal

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Value Stores

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
Big Lots★★Email
Dollar Tree

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Bonus: Online Gift Card Merchants

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
eGifter.com★★★Email, Text
GiftCards.com★★★Email
GiftCardMall.com★★★Email

eGifter, Giftcards.com and GiftCardMall.com all sell eGift cards for major retailers. Giftcards.com additionally sells personalized Visa Gift cards that can be emailed to the gift recipient. Animated videos or personal images can be added to the delivery.

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Bonus: Gift Card Apps

MerchantDesign
Choices
Custom
Image
Flexible
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
Delivery
Mode
Print at
Home
eGift
Preview
KOYA★★★Text
GiftRocketEmail
GiftlyEmail, Text
GiftYa★★★Text
YifteeEmail, Text
GyftEmail, Text

Gyft is a mobile gift card app and website that helps you organize your gift cards. You can also send eGift cards for select retailers via email, text or Facebook. The recipient must download the Gyft app to use the gift card or log into the web-based site on a mobile phone or desktop to access it.

Yiftee is a mobile app and website that allows the giver to send a virtual gift card that can be used wherever Mastercard® is accepted. The giver buys a Yiftee for a merchant and specifies whether or not the Yiftee must be used at that store, exchanged for another store or donated to charity. The recipient claims the Yiftee, receives a mobile eGift code (called a “Virtual Gift Voucher”) and has 90 days to use the card at the specified merchant. Unspent credit is returned to the sender. There is a fee for egift delivery.

GiftRocket also delivers a gift credit with a suggestion of where to spend it, but the recipient essentially receives money to use wherever. The gifted money can be accepted as a bank transfer, credit card payment, check in the mail or PayPal deposit.

Giftly is a mobile app and website that delivers a Visa gift credit with a “suggestion” of where to spend it, but the recipient is free to use the credit however he or she wants. To spend a Giftly, the recipient claims the credit and has it deposited into his or her own credit card account, then uses that credit card to buy a product or service.

GiftYa calls itself “the Venmo of gifting.” The giver sends someone a gift credit to be used at a designated merchant. The recipient downloads the GiftYa app and links it to a credit or debit card. When the linked bank card is used at the designated merchant, the money is transferred from GiftYa to the bank card in 1-3 business days.

KOYA is a mobile app where you choose a friend from your contacts, pick a place they are likely to visit (like their favorite coffee shop), record a personal video or audio message (“I was thinking of you so have a coffee on me”), add a gift amount and press send. Your friend gets notified they have a KOYA waiting to be discovered. Before finding the KOYA, the sender and receiver can send or request “hints” to where the location is. Once the friend enters the location, they are notified they have discovered their KOYA and can view the message. At this point the gift amount is confirmed from the sender’s PayPal account to the receiver’s PayPal account. The receiver is prompted to record a personal thank you.

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banner with gift cards

eGift Card Ranking Criteria

Top merchants in each category have been evaluated based on the criteria below, which includes features that make it easy for consumers to send thoughtful eGift cards and know what the experience will be like for recipients. Below are the features I looked for:

  • Electronic Delivery

    Although many merchants sell plastic gift cards online (and will mail them to you or to the recipient), I’m looking for a digital gift card that can be delivered electronically, such as through email, text message, social media or a smartphone app. Though 80% of the merchants I reviewed sell egift cards, I was still surprised to see that 20% don’t.

  • Choice of Design

    One way to personalize an eGift card is to select a design that resonates with both the giver and the receiver. From the company’s iconic logo to seasonal designs that trigger emotions, having a variety of designs available is a must.

  • Personal Images or Video

    Even better than canned images is the ability to upload your own. I guarantee there will be an uptick in mom’s psychological response to getting a digital gift when she opens an eGift card containing a picture of her grandkids versus someone else’s.

    If you really want mom to open an eGift card and feel loved, then choose to embed a video that she can watch over and over again. Few companies currently offer this feature, but it should become more and more popular as digital gifting takes over.

  • Flexible Dollar Amount

    Although I expect to see plastic gift cards sometimes only available in predetermined dollar amounts, eGift cards should be completely flexible, allowing the giver to choose any dollar amount (within a realistic range) that fits his or her budget. I want to be able to give someone $49 for a 49th birthday.

  • Schedule Delivery

    eGifting isn’t just for the forgetful. Sometimes instantaneous delivery is too fast. It’s nice when a merchant allows customers the ability to schedule an eGift card delivery for a later date and time.

  • Choice of Technology

    Gift cards can be sent quickly through email, social media, text message and mobile apps. Giving customers the choice of which technology to use means they can pick the option that is most convenient for the recipient. Currently, email is by far the most popular mode of delivery but a few merchants added text messages this year, which I am happy to see.

  • Print at Home Option

    eGift cards that can be printed at home give customers quick access to gift cards while enabling in-person presentation. (Yes, you can send an eGift card to yourself for printing, but actual “print at home” cards come presentation-ready.) I believe this is a true omni-egift card experience and gave credit to businesses that provide customers with a printable, giftable egift card that I could buy, print, and tuck into a greeting card on the way out the door.

  • Customer Preview

    Consumers want to know what the eGift card looks like. Is it just an email? Does it have a bar code on it? Is the recipient required to log in to your website to see the eGift card? Although most merchants have a product selection type of preview (meaning I could see the egift card design selected), only a few show a true preview of what the recipient will get. I think this is an essential element so I gave it more weight than other features.

For more information on eGift cards, read Gift Card Girlfriend’s Complete Guide to eGift Cards.

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2021 eGift Card Summary

With the sudden switch to digital everything in 2020, digital gifting escalated faster than previously expected. People who historically preferred plastic gift cards started sending egifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. And the more popular egift cards are the ones that can be used to shop online as well as in stores.

I still caution you to be mindful in sending egift cards. I once sent an egift card to the wrong email address. I sent my daughter a quick egift card from Starbucks, but got alarmed when she said she didn’t receive anything. Would you believe I entered her email address incorrectly? I mistyped and the system didn’t know any different. Thankfully, Starbucks took the time to recover and re-route the card, but not all merchants are willing to do that. So be extra careful when entering details and reach out after you send an egift card to be sure the recipient got the surprise.

Despite the pitfalls, this electronic gifting and mobile wallet thing is really happening. So I’m here to help us all get through it. Did I miss a favorite merchant of yours that has a really great egift card? Has your egift card program been updated? Reach out to me in the comments below, on Twitter (@GCGirlfriend) or on Instagram (@Gift.Card.Girlfriend).

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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The Giftcards.com Visa® Gift Card, Visa Virtual Gift Card, and Visa eGift Card are issued by MetaBank®,N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Gift Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Visa Virtual Gift Card can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa eGift Card can be redeemed online or in stores everywhere contactless Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa Reward Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Reward Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. No cash or ATM Access. The Giftcards.com Mastercard® Gift Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. The Mastercard Gift Virtual Account is issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard Gift Virtual Account can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard Gift Cards can be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. The merchants represented are not sponsors of Giftcards.com or otherwise affiliated with Giftcards.com The logos and other identifying marks attached are trademarks of and owned by each represented company and/or its affiliates. Please visit each company's website for additional terms and conditions.

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