Gift cards could be the perfect gift for that special someone. Interest to learn more? Monzi’s ultimate gift card guide could answer the questions that you need to know. Discover your options and a range of other handy tips. Let’s go.
Please note, certain ideas and products presented in this article may not be offered by Monzi nor the lenders we work with. This article presents only general information. Consider seeking professional financial, taxation, legal or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
What are gift cards?
We’ve all received gifts cards as a Christmas or birthday present. In short, they’re simply a card or certificate with a defined cash value that you can spend at a specific business. For instance, a $50 gift card to your favourite store can be exchanged for $50 worth of goods.
Gift cards can often be purchased online or in-store for an amount of your choosing (e.g. $20, $50 or $100). Moreover, they can be spent all at once or over a series of transactions. Finally, they will come with an expiry date, so ensure you’re aware of that and don’t leave it too late.
In any case, now that we’re clear on what gift cards are, we’re ready to move on. Keep reading as Monzi breaks down all the information that you must know before buying a gift card this holiday season. Let’s get started.
What are the best gift cards to buy?
Most gift cards are the same. After all, they are simply a way for you to gift money to someone that they can spend on whatever they like at a certain store. As a result, stating which one is the best to buy is tricky.
Ultimately, though, the best gift card to buy is one that the recipient will actually like. So, whether you’re buying it for yourself or a loved one, make sure that you put some thought into who you are buying it for. In other words, try to purchase a gift card from a place where you know they will enjoy shopping. Realistically, that’s all there is to it.
Beyond this, though, you may also consider the terms (e.g. the expiration date) to determine which gift card is the best.
Can you purchase online gift cards?
While many of us still think of gift cards as small, rectangular pieces of plastic that sit in our wallets unused for months, many retailers now offer e-gift card options too. In other words, these are vouchers that you can purchase online and have sent directly to your phone or email address.
Realistically, this is no surprise. After all, in today’s world, convenience is king. Now, rather than having to head to your nearest retailer to pick up your gift card, you can purchase it without having to leave your couch. Best of all, these cards can be stored on your phone or in your email, meaning they’re much harder to lose.
So, if you’re looking to buy a voucher for that special someone this Christmas, save yourself the time and hassle. Just purchase your gift card online.
Are there any instant gift cards online?
If you purchase an e-gift card online, there may be minimal waiting time involved. As a result, from the moment you complete your purchase to the moment it arrives in your inbox, it could feel like no time has passed at all.
Having said this, keep in mind that processing times may vary. While some websites may provide you with your voucher in the blink of an eye, others may make you wait. Moreover, if you purchase a physical gift card online, then you will obviously have to wait for it to be shipped to you.
In any case, if you’re after a last-minute gift, then buying vouchers online could be your speedy solution. If everything goes to plan, it could be processed and arrive before you know it.
Can I use a gift card online?
While some vouchers must be spent in-person, in most cases, you will be able to spend them online. As a result, you can take advantage of the online shopping revolution and make your purchases from the comfort of your own home.
With this, your gift voucher will typically come with a code made up of letters and numbers listed somewhere on the front or back. When you make a purchase online, you may be prompted to enter it once you get to the payment step. From there, your available gift card balance will then be deducted from the purchase price. It really couldn’t be easier.
What about from my phone?
Yes, e-gift cards are available to use on your mobile, representing another level of convenience. In short, if you purchase a voucher online, then you may have the option to have it sent straight to your phone.
With this, you may then be able to store it in a mobile app or your mobile wallet. You may even be able to access through your emails on your phone. When you go to make your purchase, you’ll typically just need to scan the code present on the voucher.
It’s quick and easy and comes with the added benefit that it will always be with you. After all, you take your phone with you everywhere you go.
Should I buy gift cards as a Christmas present?
Gift cards are one of the most common Christmas gifts that are given each year and there’s a reason for that. In short, they’re a quick and simple idea that can help make your Christmas shopping a breeze.
So, if you don’t want to spend hours running around this Christmas Eve trying to find the right gift, a voucher could be the perfect solution. It saves you time and the recipient can buy something they want. It’s win-win.
At the end of the day, gift cards are a tried and true present for a reason.
What about birthdays?
Birthdays and Christmas are by far the two most important gift-giving occasions each year. However, if you’re dealing with someone who’s impossible to buy for, then a voucher can make your life much easier. Rather than spending hours running from shop to shop, trying to find something they might like, just get a voucher.
Having said this, as we’ve already mentioned, make sure you get one that fits with what they like. For instance, if they enjoy reading, get them a book voucher. On the other hand, if they’re afraid of heights, don’t buy them a skydiving voucher. In other words, put a little thought into your purchase to ensure it’s a birthday gift they will love.
What other times could I give a gift card as a present?
Vouchers could be an appropriate present on any gift-giving occasion. As a result, you don’t have to limit them to just birthdays and Christmas. Other occasions that you could give someone a voucher may include:
- Valentine’s Day: give a gift they’ll love on the most romantic day of the year.
- Your wedding anniversary: just like on Valentine’s Day, treat your partner with a gift voucher. You might even be able to make it something you can do together (e.g. a couple’s massage).
- Their wedding day: wedding gifts can be tricky. A voucher could be a quick and easy option.
- Mother’s or Father’s day: let your parents buy something they actually want from a shop you know they love.
- The last day of school: thank your teacher for a great year.
- Saying goodbye: is your favourite colleague moving on? Why not give them a little gift to say thank you.
What should I think about before purchasing a gift card?
While a voucher may seem like a simple purchase, you should always take a little time to consider the terms and conditions. As a guide, make sure that you’ve asked and answered the following questions:
- Is there adequate time to spend the funds before the card expires?
- Are there any limits on what I can buy?
- Is there a limit on the number of transactions I can make?
- What happens if the card is lost/stolen?
- Do I have to pay any fees?
- Can I purchase a gift card worth any amount or are there only certain amounts available (e.g. $20, $50, $100)?
Once you’ve ticked off each of the points above, you may be ready to make your purchase. At that point, you just have to decide how much you’re willing to spend.
Do gift cards expire?
Yes, most gift cards will come with expiry dates.
While in the past, gift cards often expired within one year of being purchased, recent changes have meant that this has now been extended to three years for most cards.
However, Monzi cannot guarantee if this will always be the case and there may be some exceptions to this rule. As a result, you must read the fine print or check the expiry date that should be listed on your card. There’s nothing worse than trying to spend a voucher only to find out that it’s already expired.
Are there any rules for companies offering gift cards?
Yes, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) outline a number of requirements that businesses must adhere to when they offer gift cards. In short, businesses must:
- State all the terms and conditions of using the voucher.
- Provide the expiry date of the card.
- Outline any limits regarding the number of transactions the card may be used for (e.g. if all funds must be spent in a single purchase).
- State whether the card can be topped up or re-used.
For more details, you can check out the ACCC’s guide to gift cards and discount vouchers.
What’s a good amount for a gift card?
This truly is the big question. Unfortunately, though, there is no right answer. It will simply come down to your financial situation, the person you are buying it for and what you’ve done in the past.
As a guide, a handy rule of thumb could be to spend the equivalent amount that you would have otherwise been comfortable spending on a gift. For instance, if you were prepared to purchase someone a present worth $50, then buy them a $50 gift card.
Having said this, make sure that you consider your budget. While we’d all love to give expensive presents, gifts are a luxury. As a result, if you can only afford to spend $10-$20, then that’s all you should spend. Compromising your budget just to give someone a great present probably isn’t the wisest decision.
For more help with your budget, check out Moneysmart’s quick budget planner that makes it easy for you.
Is a gift card a bad gift?
Ultimately, whether a gift card is a bad present or not will likely depend on the person that you are buying it for and where they can spend it.
Looking first at the person you are buying it for, gift cards can often seem like a low-effort gift. As a result, for people that you are very close to (e.g. your mother), it may not be the best gift. Instead, you may need to look for something a little more appropriate. However, if they’ve asked for a gift card specifically, then, obviously, it will be a good choice. After all, they can spend it on things they actually want.
Moving onto where they can spend it, you must align your gift card purchase with their preferences. There’s no point buying a voucher for an outdoors shop for a person who hates camping. As a result, you’ll have to put a little thought into choosing the right shop. That way, they can spend their voucher on items they’ll enjoy.
Given this, a gift card isn’t always a bad present. You just have to ensure that you are buying the right gift card for the right person. If you fail to do this, then a gift card may seem like a present that you put little effort into.
Should I just give cash instead?
In short, you could. In essence, giving cash and giving a gift are the same. However, the key difference is that while cash may be spent anywhere, a gift card offers a more personal touch, given that you can buy it from a store the person loves. As a result, they can buy something that they truly want or need.
Ultimately, it will be up to you to determine whether you should just give cash instead. After all, Monzi cannot provide you with foolproof gift-giving advice that works in all situations. However, remember that a gift card will seem slightly more thoughtful than just handing someone a bit of cash.
What gift cards can be used anywhere?
Certain payment companies (e.g. Visa) can offer gift cards that you may spend anywhere. In other words, it’s just like gifting cash. However, rather than handing over notes, you’ll be giving it to them in the form of a gift card.
In addition to this, some conglomerates (e.g. Coles Group) may offer gift cards that you can spend at a range of stores that they own. As a result, while you won’t be able to spend it anywhere, you won’t necessarily be limited in your choices. These may be a great option for the person in your life that’s hard to buy for.
Which shops offer gift cards?
In today’s day and age, most shops and retailers will offer gift cards. To give you an idea, participating shops and companies may include:
- Independent retailers
- Grocery shops
- Clothing and apparel companies
- Homewares and furniture shops
- Mobile phone companies
- Online stores (e.g. iTunes)
- Payment companies (e.g. Afterpay)
However, this list is by no means extensive. As a result, do you research online or head to your favourite store to find out if they offer gift cards.
Can I buy vouchers for services and experiences?
Vouchers aren’t just limited to physical products, they could also be available to pay for services, lessons and experiences. So, if you’re looking to take your gift card game to the next level, why not investigate a few of the following:
- Music, painting or cooking lessons
- Adventure and travel experiences
- Helicopter flights
- Scuba diving
Note that Monzi is unable to say with certainty what experiences or services you could cover with a gift card. Do your research online to discover your options.
Can I buy gift cards using reward points?
Certain reward programs may allow you to exchange your points for vouchers. Best of all, there may be a range of shops available that you can get a voucher for. So, if you’ve banked a few points over time and you’re ready to cash them in, a gift voucher could be one way to spend them.
However, Monzi is unable to provide any details on where you can spend your points or how many points you will need. As a result, you must head to the relevant website to determine what options are available to you.
Gift card scams: what to look out for?
While gift cards are a quick and convenient option when you’re doing your Christmas shopping, they have become a key target for scammers over the years. Gift cards can be spent like cash, making them very difficult to trace. This makes them an attractive option for scammers. As a result, we’re here to give you a breakdown of what to look out for.
In short, if you are approached by an individual over email, phone call or text unprompted who is asking for payment via gift cards, then it is almost certainly a scam. In many cases, these individuals will claim to be from a government department and will state that you owe money, while also threatening you with arrest. Obviously, these claims will be untrue.
If you do come across one of these scams, make sure that you never agree to the demands and report it, where possible.
Where do I report gift card scams?
If you have fallen victim to a gift card scam or would like to report one that you’ve come across, then your best bet is to head to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website. Just follow the prompts to the Report A Scam page to submit your complaint.
In addition to this, you may be able to report any theft via the Australian government’s ReportCyber platform that handles various cybercrimes. However, keep in mind that it may not be possible to get your money back. Gift cards can be spent like cash, meaning they are difficult to track.
What happens if I lose my gift card?
If you lose your voucher, then your options are limited. Unfortunately, unless you can provide proof of purchase, your card likely will not be re-issued or replaced. As a result, it’s up to you to keep it somewhere safe.
Given this, it’s worth considering purchasing e-gift cards. If you buy online, then you won’t have to worry about keeping track of a small piece of plastic. Instead, it will be right there in your email or on your phone. As a result, it’s much harder to misplace.
What about if I forget to use it?
If you don’t use your voucher, then nothing will happen. The funds will simply remain available to you on the card until you reach its expiry date.
If you haven’t spent your funds by the time the card expires, then it’s likely that there will be nothing you can do. While you may be able to try and negotiate a resolution, typically the card will simply void. As a result, you won’t be able to spend any remaining funds. That’s why you must note the expiry date when you purchase or receive your voucher.
How many times can I use a gift card?
In most cases, there is no limit on the number of times that you can use a gift card to make a transaction. As long as there are funds available, you may use it to cover all, or a portion, of the costs involved in your purchase.
However, read the terms and conditions to determine if this applies to your card. In some cases, vouchers must be spent within a certain number of transactions. For instance, it may need to be spent all at once. So, check the fine print to confirm.
Can I purchase gift cards through Monzi?
Unfortunately, you can’t.
While we’ve done our best to provide you with an educational and informative guide to purchasing gift cards, Monzi is not a retailer. As a result, you cannot purchase anything through Monzi. Instead, we’re an online lender-finder service.
What does that mean? Well, if you’re short on cash, then we may match you with an online lender today. In other words, you can apply for cash loans fast from $300 to $10,000 with repayment terms ranging from 12 to 24 months. Once we receive your application, we search through our lender-network to try and find one that’s available and willing to assess your claim.
At the end of the day, Monzi aims to take the stress and hassle out of borrowing. Use the loan slider at the top of the page to apply today.
Can I use a personal loan to purchase gift cards?
In short, you may.
Personal loans may be an option if you need cash fast. Moreover, you may use them to cover a wide variety of unexpected expenses. With this, you could potentially use your fast cash to purchase a gift card.
However, before doing so, consider the consequences of this decision. All loans come with interest and fees, meaning you’ll always repay more than you borrow. Given this, going into debt just to buy a gift card for a loved one may not be the wisest financial decision.
As a guide, more common expenses that you can cover with personal loans include:
- Car repairs
- Household maintenance and renovations
- Debt consolidation
- Travel expenses
- Rental bond
As you can see, these expenses are usually necessary and unavoidable. By comparison, purchasing a gift card is more of a luxury than a necessity. In any case, if you’re after a little extra cash this Christmas, then Monzi may help you get started. Apply from $300 to $10,000 now.
Am I able to apply with Monzi?
If you’re hunting lenders online to offer you money in a hurry, then applying with Monzi may be a great place to start. However, before you apply, you must confirm that you are eligible. In other words, ensure you check these four boxes:
- Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- 18 years of age or older.
- Have an active email address and mobile number.
- Have an online transaction account with three months of history.
Keep in mind that meeting these criteria does not guarantee that your application will be approved.
How do I apply?
Ok, so you want to apply for instant online cash in your pocket? Well, at Monzi, we’ve made it easy. All you have to do is follow these four steps:
- Select your preferred cash amount.
- Enter the necessary personal and financial information.
- Take a break while Monzi attempts to match you with an available lender from our network.
- We’ll be in touch with an outcome. If we find a lender willing to consider your application, then they will contact you to conduct an assessment.
Note that approval is not certain. If you are matched with a lender, they will conduct an assessment to determine if you should be offered a loan. Moreover, lenders retain the right to deny applications at their discretion.
Anything else you want to know? Get in touch
If you feel there’s something that we haven’t addressed or you’ve got questions about our lender-finder service, then reach out. You can email us today at email@example.com. We’ll do what we can to get back to you with a quick response to set your mind at ease.
However, remember that Monzi can only answer questions about our organisation and service. As a result, you should direct any questions about gift cards to the relevant company. After all, Monzi cannot speak specifically regarding the terms and conditions of any voucher.
Apply for a personal loan today!
While we can’t sell gift cards, if you’re after cash today, then Monzi may be able to point you in the right direction. Apply now from $300 to $10,000. It may be the easiest thing you do this week. You might be matched with a lender before you know it.
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