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Gift cards remain one of the most popular gifts around the holidays. Whether you’re shopping for someone you know or someone you don’t know well, gift cards are a surefire option to ensure they can get something they want.
However, gift cards can also come across as impersonal. GiftCards.com aims to change that by allowing you to personalize gift cards from a variety of retailers to make the gift more thoughtful.
Furthermore, GiftCards.com can even offer discounts on gift cards, which can help you get more bang for your buck.
However, anyone who has looked up GiftCards.com on the web has stumbled across plenty of negative reviews, which can strike fear into the heart of an online shopper and lead you to wonder if the company is legit or a clever scam.
While GiftCards.com is an option for purchasing gift cards around the holidays, it is important to understand where it succeeds and where it falters.
What Is GiftCards.com?
GiftCards.com is an online gift card retailer that allows you to purchase, personalize, and deliver gift cards as a meaningful gift.
Customers can purchase gift cards at full price or a discount from a variety of popular retailers such as Amazon, Airbnb, Home Depot, and Sephora.
Founded in 1999, the Pittsburgh-based company originally operated under the name DirectCertificates.com. Blackhawk Network purchased it in 2008, which led to it focusing on becoming a leading gift card retailer.
This included offering a larger variety of retailer gift cards as well as prepaid cards from Visa and Mastercard.
How Does GiftCards.com Work?
Shopping on GiftCards.com is a straightforward process that will feel familiar to anyone who has shopped online in the past.
After arriving at the home page, you can shop for gift cards from hundreds of retailers by brand or category.
If you are specifically interested in cards at a discount, you can find them all listed on the Discount Gift Cards page. The discounted cards vary by retailer and by day, and discounts can be as high as 35%.
After you choose the card that you want, and you set the amount you would like to load onto it, you can add it to your cart.
You also have the opportunity to personalize the cards here. You can add a personal message, a personal photo, or even an occasion-specific card cover.
You can add as many cards as you like to your cart, and you can set them so that they send to different recipients as well.
Once you have all the cards you would like to purchase in your cart, you’re ready to pay for your order. The payment page is incredibly secure and looks familiar to any accredited online retailer that you’ve used in the past.
If you chose an electronic card, the card would be sent to the email listed. If you selected a physical card, you will need to choose your shipping method and list a shipping address. Gift cards typically take about 4-9 business days to ship.
If you are concerned that the gift card will expire, federal law prohibits gift cards from expiring for at least five years of the purchase date.
This gives you or your recipients plenty of time to use the cards before the funds expire. If you are curious about the remaining balance on the cards, you can check the balance on their site as well.
To use GiftCards.com, you must be 18 or older, a U.S. or legal immigrant, and have a valid U.S. address.
You can purchase either physical or digital gift cards, both of which give you options to personalize.
The minimum card balance for any gift card is $10, and the maximum amount that you can load is $500.
GiftCards.com Mobile App
GiftCards.com also has a mobile app that you can use. The app is listed as “Buy Personalized Gift Cards” in the app store, which can make it difficult to find.
The app only gives you the option to purchase gift cards at full face value. If you are solely interested in discount gift cards, you would be better off using the desktop version.
Are There Any Hidden Fees?
GiftCards.com is relatively upfront about the additional charges that come with their products. However, it is important to understand what fees you are paying ahead of time to avoid potential sticker shock.
The prepaid Visa or Mastercard cards charge a purchasing fee that varies based on the amount you load onto the cards. For example:
- $10 – $75 Visa or Mastercard gift card would carry roughly a $3 extra cost.
- $350 – $500 Visa or Mastercard gift card would carry approximately a $7 additional charge.
You will still be charged this fee even if you decide to go with the electronic card instead of the physical card.
GiftCards.com also charges shipping costs. These will vary based on your location and are reasonably priced. These can be avoided altogether if you choose to send the gift card electronically.
Is There a Rewards Program?
GiftCards.com offers rewards points called G-Money rewards that accumulate with each purchase, which can incentivize consumers to buy from GiftCards.com instead of directly from the retailer.
You can earn G-Money rewards by making purchases, referring friends, using the mobile app, or linking your Facebook account. However, various merchants do not reward the same amount of rewards points.
For example, if you wanted to buy a gift card from one retailer that totaled $100 and rewarded 1% in G-Money, you would receive 100 points or $1 off your next purchase.
Another retailer could offer 10% in G-Money rewards, which means you would receive $10 in rewards back on a $100 purchase. Be sure to check the G-Money rewards for each retailer if you plan to use the site.
G-Money rewards do expire but not for seven years after they are earned, giving you a wide window of time to redeem them. You can check your G-Money rewards balance under Manage Account on the GiftCards.com website.
Pros and Cons of GiftCards.com
While GiftCards.com has its drawbacks, it also has areas where it exceeds the capabilities of its peers.
Below are some of the pros and cons of purchasing a gift card through GiftCards.com.
- Variety of retailers to choose from: GiftCards.com offers a wide range of stores from which you can choose. You can do electronic gift cards as well as physical gift cards. As far as other online gift card retailers go, GiftCards.com ranks among the best in terms of options. The fact that GiftCards.com offers Visa and Mastercard options gives it a huge advantage on other online gift card merchants. The association with these large brands alone lends to their credibility.
- Discounted cards from popular stores: The primary motivation to buy from GiftCards.com rather than straight from the retailer is the opportunity for big savings. The most significant savings that we saw on the site were about 25%, which can be quite a chunk of change if you’re looking to buy a card with a large balance.
- Opportunity to personalize: The main mission of GiftCards.com is to change the perspective around gift cards as a thoughtless gift. By adding a personal message and customizing the appearance of the gift card, you can let people know that you can get them something they want and make it personal too.
- Not accredited by the BBB: Whenever you’re dealing with a business that isn’t accredited by the BBB, it is natural to question whether the operation is legitimate or a total scam. GiftCards.com has no BBB accreditation, nor does it have any official reviews. Any reviews of GiftCards.com can be found through generic rating sites.
- Scathing online reviews: It’s impossible to look up GiftCards.com online and not see the hundreds of bad reviews. Whether it’s gift card orders being canceled without explanation or an inability to reach a customer service representative, it seems people have had issues when purchasing gift cards through GiftCards.com.
- Website maintenance issues: Nothing can sour an online retail experience quite like the website crashing. Unfortunately, GiftCards.com seems to experience website issues fairly recently. It is unclear whether these issues are with the hosting software or the traffic on the site. Either way, customers are unable to place new orders or track existing orders when the website is down.
So, Is GiftCards.com Legit?
Putting your credit card information into a website that you’ve never used before can be anxiety-inducing. The wide array of reviews also makes it challenging to identify if the site is legitimate or not. Overall, we believe it is legitimate, but far from perfect.
The most common issue in negative reviews is from orders being canceled for ‘security reasons’ or being lost entirely. According to the website, orders can be canceled due to information not matching information on file at your bank, images not meeting regulatory requirements, or if the delivery address is deemed undeliverable.
Regarding the negative reviews, it is impossible to know whether or not they were resolved. In most instances, it seems that money was not taken out of peoples’ accounts when their order was canceled. This makes for a frustrating inconvenience.
The main reasons people use GiftCards.com over retailers is the personalization options and discount cards. However, if you are buying a full-priced gift card, it is worth it to get it straight from a retailer rather than through a third party. This way, you know that the funds will be accepted, you aren’t paying additional fees, and you can file any issues directly with the company.
Gift cards are great gifts, and there are other ways you can let the recipient know you are gifting it with love.