When most of us think about a gift card, we think about the traditional plastic gift cards. However, many merchant also offer an alternative form: the electronic gift card aka eGift Card or Online Gift Certificate. It's worth noting there are some very clear and some not so clear benefits to these different forms of gift card.
One clear benefit to each form of gift card:
Plastic Gift Cards - Most consumers like to hand over a tangible gift when gift giving. In which case, plastic gift cards are great. Furthermore, they often have wonderful designs which could be appropriate fit the occasion. For example, if you're in the need of a Mother's Day Gift Card, a merchant might have one with pretty flowers and the words "Best Mom" already printed on the card.
eGift Cards - Typically delivered by email, the big benefit here is getting a gift delivered fast and free. One could literally wait until the last day and send an Amazon.com eGift Card across the country and have the gift delivered on-time. Keep in mind, one could also print out an eGift Card and hand it over to the recipient, but it's not quite the same as a plastic gift card.
Separate Product Reviews
ScripSmart reviews these two gift card forms as separate products. We do this for two main reasons:
1) There are some important differences in how our Gift Card Score algorithm scores each form of gift card. For example, if a plastic gift card does not have a scratch off security code, it's Gift Card Score is lowered. On the other hand, lowering the score for an eGift card which does not have a scratch off code just doesn't make sense and no email gift card will offer a scratch off code, it's just not possible.
2) The terms of an eGift Card may be different than those of a traditional plastic gift card. For example, according to the FAQ, the Jos. A. Bank Gift Card is not replaceable if lost or stolen. However, Jos. A. Bank eGift Card is replaceable if lost or stolen.
Anytime there are differences in a gift card program, it will be reflected in it's Gift Card Score. Naturally, the Jos. A. Bank's Plastic Gift Card scores a bit lower than it's electronic counterpart. In fact, below are the current gift card reviews for both products.
The Plastic Version:
ScripSmart Helps Simplify Decisions
This example illustrates how ScripSmart helps simplify the decision making process when buying a gift card. By simplifying the terms, one can decide if it's worth getting the plastic vs giving a gift card which is replaceable if lost or stolen. A score of 78 when compared to a score of 84 should give a good indication it's worthwhile to take a deeper look at the specifics of each gift card.