First Person: I Could Stop Using Gift Cards

Yahoo Contributor Network

Don't get me wrong. I like getting gift cards, simply because I enjoy making my own purchases at various retailers. Obviously it is nice to get special gifts from specific people, particularly from family members during the holidays and on birthdays. However, the gift card is a flexible way to give something and still allow a measure of individual freedom for the recipient. These cards have certainly been convenient for the last number of years, but at this point I am ready to move on to something else. I am ready to stop using gift cards. Apparently, gift cards may eventually be on their way out as people pay with other means.

Convenience and hassle

Gifts cards have always been nice because they are a compact way to carry cash for a particularly retailer, and they are cheaper to ship. Granted, they can also get lost and one of the hassles is that the balances need to be tracked. When I have had gift cards in the past, I have tried to keep track of balances by writing the amount on the surface itself. Usually this has been a good methodology, but it can be annoying to track a stack of different cards. In addition, I do not always carry my gift cards. I do however, always carry my smart phone.

Technological tools

The gift card may eventually be replaced by digital tools. Specifically, consumers could eventually make many of their retail purchases via apps on the smart phones. I have starting making such purchases, and I will say that it is very convenient. I could get used to doing this more often. Obviously it helps if people have smart phones and are comfortable using them. In order for this type of process to become more prevalent, larger groups of people would need to acquire and learn technology. This may eventually happen.

An interesting new world

I understand that some people fear this shift to different forms of digital currency. People are concerned that at some point there won't be anything tangible to back up our financial assets. For now, I am comfortable having some of my gift card assets in digital form. After all, the gift card is almost a form of digital currency, as data is electronically stored on a piece of plastic.

There may come a point when that little piece of plastic isn't needed. I am ready to move on.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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