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The Best eGift Cards from Top Stores and Restaurants in 2019

A ranking of the personalization features of the best eGift cards from nationwide stores, restaurants and apps in 2019.

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

As egift cards are becoming an increasingly popular choice for last-minute, impromptu and “just because” gifts, I am always looking for features that make egift cards more personal. Five years ago, I reviewed egift cards from top stores and restaurants to see which ones would allow me to personalize the digital delivery with a choice of egift card designs, personal photos or even video messages. I also wanted to know which egift cards would allow me to schedule delivery and choose a custom dollar amount. After launching that first review of the best egift cards available, I discovered that customers had two more basic questions. They want to know what an egift card looks like and where (how) it can be used. So I looked for those things too.

Given that digital delivery is a relatively new gifting style, it makes sense that people want to know how it all works and what the recipient experience will be. For this reason, merchants that offer customers an egift card preview and accept egift cards both in their stores and online rank higher (for me) than those that don’t.

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

The best places to buy eGift cards, according to the personalization 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” and “Best in Category” awards in the 2019 eGift Card Review.


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Apparel

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Old Navy26-50Photo$10-500YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
Gap26-50Photo$10-500YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
Abercrombie & Fitch10-25Photo, VideoNoYesEmailNoBothYes
Banana Republic10-25Photo$10-500YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
Journeys2-9Photo$5-250YesEmailYesBothYes
Chico’s2-9Photo$10-500YesEmailYesBothYes
Lands’ End10-25Photo, Audio$10-500YesEmailNoBothNo
T.J. Maxx10-25Photo$10-500YesEmailNoBothYes
Marshalls10-25Photo$10-500YesEmailYesStoreYes
H&M26-50No$15-150YesEmailYesBothNo
Aeropostale2-9Photo$10-300YesEmailYesBothNo
American Eagle10-25Photo$5-500NoEmail, TextNoBothYes
Brooks Brothers10-25No$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Coach10-25No$25-1500YesEmailYesBothNo
Adidas10-25No$10-250YesEmailYesBothNo
DSW10-25Photo$5-500NoEmailNoBothYes
L. L. Bean10-25No$5-500YesEmailNoBothNo
Claire’s10-25No$10-50YesEmailYesOnlineNo
Ann Taylor2-9No$10-500YesEmailYesOnlineNo
Under Armour1No$10-500YesEmailNoBothNo
Nike10-25No$25-500NoEmailNoBothNo
Urban Outfitters10-25NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
J.Crew1NoNoYesEmailNoBothYes
Victoria’s Secret2-9NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
Express2-9NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
Footlocker2-9No$10-250NoEmailNoBothNo
Burlington Coat Factory2-9NoNoNoEmailNoBothYes
Justice1No$10-200NoEmailNoBothNo
Lane Bryant*1No$10-999NoEmailNoBothNo
Ralph Lauren1No$5-1000NoEmailNoBothNo
Forever 2110-25NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Men’s Wearhouse1NoNoNoEmailNoBothYes
Columbia2-9NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Cole Haan
Ross Stores
         

* Lane Bryant previously had an established eGift card program both on their website and mobile-enabled site. At the time of this review, both say that gift cards are not available for purchase online.


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Automotive

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Jiffy Lube2-9No$10-300YesEmailYesStoreNo
Pep Boys1NoNoYesEmailNoStoreNo
Autozone
         

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Department Stores

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
JCPenney26-50Photo$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Sears51-75No$10-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Nordstrom10-25Photo$5-2000YesEmailYesBothNo
Macy’s51-75No$10-1000NoEmailNoBothYes
Belk2-9No$10-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Boscov’s10-25No$5-250NoEmailNoBothYes
Bloomingdale’s26-50No$10-1000NoEmailNoBothNo
Dillard’s10-25NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
Kohl’s51-75NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Saks Fifth Avenue2-9NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
Neiman Marcus1NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
Bon-Ton
         

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Drug Stores

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
CVS2-9Photo$5-150YesEmailYesStoreNo
Good Neighbor
Health Mart
Rite Aid
Walgreens
         

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Electronics and Entertainment

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Best Buy26-50Photo, Video$5-500YesEmailNoBothNo
Amazon.com400-500Photo*$1-2000YesEmail, Text, MsgYesOnlineNo
American Girl26-50No$5-500YesEmailYesBothYes
AMC Theatres10-25Photo$5-100YesEmailYesBothNo
Regal Cinemas26-50Photo$10-100YesEmailNoBothNo
QVC26-50Photo$5-500YesEmailYesOnlineNo
Fandango10-25Photo, AudioNoYesEmailNoOnlineNo
Barnes & Noble10-25No$10-350NoEmailNoBothNo
Apple Store10-25No$25-2000NoEmailNoBothNo
GameStop1No$10-500NoEmailNoBothNo
iTunes**2-9No$10-200NoEmailNoOnlineNo
Xbox1NoNoNoEmailNoOnlineNo
Steam1NoNoNoGameNoOnlineNo
AT&T
Nintendo
PlayStation
Verizon
         

* Amazon.com customers can additionally send “suggested gift” eGift cards. When the eGift card is delivered, it contains an image of the suggested product along with a thought bubble that says, “Thought you might like this.” The recipient can redeem the gift card for that product or for another product on the site.

** iTunes eGift cards must be purchased from the iTunes store on a computer or an iOS device.


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Health and Beauty

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Sephora*26-50Photo$10-500YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
Ulta10-25Photo$10-500YesEmailYesBothNo
The Body Shop10-25Photo$5-200YesEmailYesBothNo
Aveda10-25No$10-500NoEmail, TextYesBothYes
Aveda10-25No$10-500NoEmail, TextYesBothYes
Bath & Body Works10-25NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
General Nutrition Center
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

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Michaels10-25Photo$5-500YesEmail, TextNoBothNo
Jo-Ann10-25No$10-400YesEmailNoBothNo
A.C. Moore
Hobby Lobby
         

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Home Goods

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Bed Bath & Beyond26-50Photo, Video$5-300YesEmailYesBothNo
Williams-Sonoma26-50Photo$25-500YesEmailYesBothYes
Brookstone10-25Photo$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
The Container Store10-25Photo$10-100YesEmailYesBothNo
Yankee Candle10-25Photo$10-250YesEmailYesBothNo
Crate and Barrel10-25Photo$25-1000YesEmailYesBothNo
HomeGoods*10-25No$10-500YesEmailYesBothYes
Ikea2-9No$1-1000YesEmailYesBothNo
Pier 1 Imports2-9No$5-100YesEmailYesBothNo
Z Gallerie2-9No$5-995YesEmailYesBothNo
World Market1NoNoNoEmailNoOnlineNo
         

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Home Improvement

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Home Depot26-50Photo, Video$5-2000YesEmailYesBothNo
Ace Hardware2-9Photo, Audio$5-250YesEmailYesBothNo
Lowe’s26-50Photo$5-500YesEmailNoBothNo
True Value26-50No$5-200YesEmailYesBothNo
Menard
         

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Mass Merchants

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Walmart*100-200No$5-200NoEmailNoBothNo
Target*51-75NoNoYesEmail, TextNoBothNo
Costco*
Sam’s Club*
         

* Target both additionally sell eGift cards for select retailers. Sam’s Club and Costco only sell discount eGift cards for select retailers. For all stores, however, these third-party eGift cards are emailed directly to the buyer–not to a gift recipient.


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Office Supply

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Office Depot2-9Photo$5-2000YesEmailYesBothNo
Staples*2-9Photo$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
         

* In addition to selling their own eGift card, Staples sells eGift cards for select retailers. However, these third-party eGift cards appear to be emailed directly to the buyer. In the checkout process there is a place to enter an email address, but the description implies the recipient will receive complete details for your order–including anything else you may have purchased.


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Pets

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
PetSmart10-25Photo, Audio$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Petco10-25Photo$10-200YesEmailYesBothNo
         

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Restaurants

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Domino’s26-50Photo, Audio$5-100YesEmailNoBothNo
Subway26-50Photo$5-500YesEmailNoBothYes
Pizza Hut10-25Photo, Audio$10-200YesEmailNoBothNo
Buffalo Wild Wings51-75Photo, Audio$10-250YesEmailNoStoresNo
Maggiano’s10-25Photo, Audio$10-100YesEmailYesStoresNo
Olive Garden10-25Photo, Audio$10-250§YesEmailYesStoresNo
Dunkin’ Donuts2-9Photo$5-100YesEmailYesBothNo
Chili’s26-50Photo, Audio$10-100YesEmailNoStoresNo
Red Robin26-50Photo, Audio$5-150YesEmailNoStoresNo
O’Charleys26-50Photo, Audio$10-100YesEmailNoStores“No
TGI Friday’s2-9Photo$5-500YesEmailYesStoresYes
Buca di Beppo2-9Photo$10-500YesEmailYesStoresYes
Starbucks51-75No$5-100YesEmailNoBothNo
Cracker Barrel10-25Photo$10-300YesEmailNoBothNo
Boston Market10-25Photo, Audio$5-250YesEmailNoStoresNo
On The Border10-25Photo, Audio$5-100YesEmailNoStoresNo
Panera10-25Photo, Audio$2-200YesEmailNoStoresNo
Landry’s 10-25Photo$20-499YesEmailYesStoresNo
Chipotle26-50Photo$10-250YesEmailNoStoresNo
P.F. Chang’s2-9Photo, Audio$5-500YesEmailNoStoresNo
Macaroni Grill2-9Photo, Audio$10-500YesEmailNoStoresNo“`
Papa John’s10-25No$10-100YesEmailNoBothNo
IHOP10-25Photo$10-200YesEmailNoStoresNo
Bonefish Grill10-25Photo$5-500YesEmailNoStoresNo
Eddie V’s1Photo, Audio$25-1000§YesEmailNoStoresNo
The Capital Grille1Photo, Audio$25-1000§YesEmailNoStoresNo
Cheesecake Factory10-25Photo$5-500NoEmailYesStoresNo
Outback10-25Photo$5-250NoEmailNoStoresYes
Fleming’s2-9Photo$5-250YesEmailNoStoresNo
Carrabba’s2-9No$10-500YesEmailYesStoresNo
Applebee’s*10-25No$10-200YesEmailNoStoreNo
Longhorn10-25No$10-250§YesEmailNoStoresNo
Bahama Breeze10-25No$10-250§YesEmailNoStoresNo
Yard House2-9No$10-250§YesEmailNoStoresNo
Burger King2-9Photo$10-100NoEmailNoStoresNo
Seasons 521No$10-1000§YesEmailNoStoresNo
Roy’s2-9No$5-500NoEmailNoStoresNo
Arby’s
Baskin Robbins
Chick-fil-A
KFC
McDonald’s
Sonic
Taco Bell
Wendy’s
         

§ While not completely flexible, these restaurants allow load values in $5 increments within the specified range.


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Sporting Goods

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
DICK’s Sporting Goods10-25No$10-500YesEmailYesBothNo
REI10-25No$10-1000NoEmailYesBothYes
Golf Galaxy2-9No$5-500YesEmailYesBothNo
Cabela’s26-50No$5-2000NoEmailNoBothNo
Bass Pro Shops10-25NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Modell’s Sporting Goods1NoNoNoEmail, TextNoBothNo
Hibbett Sports1NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Academy
Big 5
Overton’s
         

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Supermarkets

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Food Lion10-25Photo, Audio$5-500YesEmailNoStoreNo
Whole Foods10-25No$20-500YesEmail, TextYesStoresNo
H-E-B1NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Albertsons
Aldi
BI-LO
Giant Food
Giant Eagle
Kroger
Meijer
Publix
Safeway
ShopRite
         

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Travel

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
American Airlines76-100No$50-1500NoEmailNoBothNo
Hyatt10-25No$10-2000YesEmailYesStoresNo
Marriott10-25No$25-2000YesEmailNoBothNo
Delta1No$5-1000NoEmailNoBothNo
Southwest Airlines1No$10-1000NoEmailNoBothNo
Disney World Resorts1NoNoNoEmailNoBothNo
Hard Rock
JetBlue
MGM Resorts
Travelocity
United Airlines
Universal
         

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Value Stores

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
Big Lots
Dollar Tree
         

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Bonus: Online Gift Card Merchants

Merchant# of
Designs
Add
Images
Flex.
Amount
Schedule
Delivery
DeliveryPrint at
Home
Use Online/
In store
eGift
Preview
eGifter.com*100-200Photo, eGreeting$5-2000YesEmail, TextYesBothYes
GiftCards.com100-200Photo, eGreeting$10-500YesEmailNoBothNo
GiftCardMall.com1NoNoYesEmailNoBothNo
         

* eGifter exclusively sells eGift cards for major retailers. Unique from any other merchant I’ve found, this website allows the user to find contacts on Facebook and Google+. Delivery, however, is via email, text or Facebook.

† GiftCardLab.com and GiftCardMall.com sell eGift cards for select retailers that can be delivered via email or text to a gift recipient.

‡ GiftCards.com sells personalized Visa Gift cards and eGift cards for major retailers 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

Merchant# of DesignsAdd ImagesFlex. AmountSchedule DeliveryDeliveryPrint at HomeUse Online/ In storeeGift Preview
Gyft*1NoNoYesEmail, TextNoBothNo
Yiftee1No$10-250YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
GiftRocket§2-9No$1-1000YesEmailYesBothYes
Giftly**1Photo$1-1000YesEmail, TextYesBothNo
GiftYa‡‡26-50Wrapper$5-100YesTextNoBothNo
         

* 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.


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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 feel good about the experience. eGift cards that I think are best are listed first, followed by egift cards with fewer features.  

Top-Ranked-Icon-03

1. 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.
Top-Ranked-Icon-01

2. 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.
Top-Ranked-Icon-02

3. Personal Image

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.
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4. Video

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 will become more and more popular as digital gifting takes over.
Top-Ranked-Icon-06

5. 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.
Top-Ranked-Icon-05

6. 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-Technology

7. 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. (In the matrix below, FB = Facebook, TW = Twitter.)
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8. 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.)
Redeem-Icon-03

9. Mobile Options

While you can open websites on a smartphone browser, mobile-enabled websites and merchant apps that are customized for egift card delivery and use make the process easy. For this feature, I’m looking for a gifting experience that can be initiated on a smartphone and received just as easily.
Icon-Preview

10. Where Usable

Customers want to know where eGift cards can be used. Although ultimately I believe all gift cards will (and should be) redeemable at every outlet associated with a merchant (online, in stores, in outlet stores and so forth), we aren’t there yet. Merchants should clearly state where their digital gift cards can be used, especially if there are limitations.
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11. 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 receipient will get.
  

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


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2019 eGift Card Summary

After another year of reviewing the best egift card programs and using egift cards, I have to say that although we are doing better, the transaction still isn’t totally seamless just yet–no matter which merchant you use. In fact, it seems even the merchants are still trying to figure things out. Several merchants removed social connection from their egift card programs and a few removed texting as well, making email the predominant egift card delivery method.

Also, though I wouldn’t accidentally give a plastic gift card to someone I don’t know, I have sent egift cards 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 pulled her email address straight from the contact list on my smartphone where I had apparently entered it wrong months earlier. (We typically text and Snapchat each other by phone. Never email. Obviously.) Thankfully, Starbucks was able to recover it and re-route the card, but not all merchants have that capability. So be extra careful when entering details and reach out after you send a gift 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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