It’s quite common that instead of buying a gift you go to your favorite store and buy a gift card. This is better for the person you are buying the gift card for so that they can buy whatever they want, just in case someone got them the same gift that you thought of.
This is what you say, but what if the person receives like 10 best buy gift cards? Wouldn’t that limit their choices to only electronics? What if they wanted a swimming suite, or a pair of new sneakers?
This is when a universal gift card comes in handy
A universal gift card is a gift card that can be used at any merchant where a credit card is accepted as a method of payment, including almost all of the online stores.
Universal gift cards are usually issued by one of the major credit card companies, like MasterCard and Visa gift cards. They come with another advantage, other than being universally accepted wherever a credit card is accepted. And this advantage is that you can customize it with the name of the person who’ll receive this gift.
There are different types of universal gift cards; some are reloadable while some aren’t, some can be used anywhere and some are for electronic use only, and some can have the balance checked online while other lack this feature.
It’s quite amusing to watch the evolution of gift cards. I remember back in the 9o’s we only had gift certificates and those could be issued from the mall management. That was a nice looking peace of paper with my name on it and a certain amount of money that I can use only once. The good thing is that I could go to the mall, buy a pair of socks for two bucks and cash out the remaining balance. I did that twice in one day ;-).
Then came the gift cards issued by certain stores like Walmart, Starbucks, and Best Buy. Those looked more like a card with a magnetic strip that you can swipe just like a credit or debit card. Then came out the universal gift cards that can be used anywhere a credit card is accepted.
Isn’t that convenient!
Anyways, a universal gift card also comes with another advantage that only those addicted to shopping online will realize. You can buy yourself one, and use it to shop online with merchants you’re not hundred percent sure are safe. Whever you’re suspecious but you need that service or item you can use your univeral gift card to pay. This way if the merchant turns out to be a scam or a phishing net you limit their access to whatever you have on your card. It’s like using a prepaid debit card but with the “disposabelity” feature.