Gift cards might be cliche, but they’re as popular as ever.
They are the most commonly-given present for 15 years running, according to WalletHub’s 2021 gift card study.
Some gift cards make better presents than others, though.
For the study, WalletHub analyzed the 50 most popular gift card options based on five factors:
- How popular the gift cards are
- How much of a discount you can buy them for on a gift card exchange
- How much you can sell them for on a gift card exchange
- How much people like the retailer
- Shipping fees
Next, the website gave each card an overall score out of 100 possible points. This year, these scores ranged from a high of 60 to a low of 20.
The best gift cards for 2021
Of all the gift cards included in the analysis this year, eight earned overall scores of 55 or more. They are:
- Starbucks: Overall score of 60 out of 100 points
- Target: 60
- Nike: 55
- Chick-fil-A: 55
- iTunes: 55
- Walmart: 51
- eBay: 51
- Visa: 51
- American Express: 50
- REI: 50
- Ikea: 50
- Google Play: 50
The dubious distinction of being ranked dead last went to QVC gift cards, which earned an overall score of 20 out of 100.
Saving money on gift cards
Whomever you might be purchasing gift cards for, there are numerous ways to save money. The best places to buy gift cards for less are:
- Gift card exchanges: These are online marketplaces where you can buy gift cards for less than their face value. Raise is an example of this type of website.
- Wholesale clubs: These chains sell discounted gift cards, though their selection isn’t as large as you would find on a gift card exchange. To see what’s currently available, visit the website of BJ’s, Costco or Sam’s Club.
- Rewards programs: If you can’t find a particular gift card at a discount, you might be able to at least earn something — such as cash back — by buying it through a rewards program. Rakuten is an example of this type of program — and it was offering as much as 11% cash back on gift cards as of when this article was written.
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