If you’re one of those people who gets gifted an abundance of cards, then you could well have hundreds of dollars’ worth of cards. As the inventory of gift cards grows, managing them becomes a challenge, and risky, too, because they are like cash: they cannot be replaced if they are stolen.
The typical situation with gift cards shows that if they’re not used within the first three to six months of being activated, then they just end up adding to the billion-dollar amount of unspent gift cards. So how can you make the most of your gift and loyalty cards? Here are some tips to keep onto them and to help you avoid wasting a great opportunity to use them.
Get a Credit Card Organizer or Put Them on a Key Ring
It seems like an impossible mission, but if you have multiple gift cards – including loyalty cards – then keeping them to hand means your wallet will be full of cards. So if you want to keep the plastic around, consider getting a credit card organizer – you can even use your Amazon gift card to grab the best deal.
A much cheaper option is to punch a hole in the corner of each one and put them on a keyring. Of course, your ‘main’ keyring should be out of the question.
Put the Plastic Away; Store it Securely With a Password Manager
Gift cards are like cash: if they are lost, there is little or no opportunity to recover the funds. That’s why we recommend taking a picture of the cards when you receive them (don’t forget to include the PIN or sequence number found on the back of the card). This is more convenient than writing the data down on paper, because the pictures can be stored in a password management app and the data will be kept in a secure vault so you won’t have to carry the plastic around with you.
In fact, password management apps often allow users to store gift cards and loyalty cards so that all the data you need is just one tap away for use both in-store or for online purchases; link the pictures to that data and you’ll be good to go. And if you happen to have voucher codes, store them securely using the secure notes feature of any password manager. Adding tags will even help navigation through an abundance of cards.
The challenging part is keeping track of the balance and each card’s expiry date. A simple tip is to keep a log of the gift card balance by scanning and storing the last bill in the password manager’s vault. Or use a custom field to type in the available balance after making a purchase.
Compile Them Into a Gift Card Manager
Mobile apps such as Gyft and Cardpool allow users to digitalize and store gift cards, as well as store e-gift cards and keep track of their balances. They rely on retailer support for this part, so the automatic update of the gift card balance really depends on the retailer’s policy: some simply don’t allow it.
Carry Gift Cards Digitally in a Mobile Wallet
A great place to store all your gift and loyalty cards is in a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay (formerly Android Pay). As technology evolves, there will no doubt come a time when the store will be able to notify the user via push notification, suggesting they should use the gift card while shopping in a suitable store. The Bluetooth-based beacons technology allows this and there have been some trials, but it is really in the early beginnings at the moment. Meanwhile, mobile wallets, password managers, and gift card management apps allow users to convert their digital money into products.
Which Method Is Yours?
As you can see, there are a few options out there to make life easier. As mobile wallets evolve, they become more central to both the in-store and online shopping experience, given their increasing support for gift and loyalty cards.
A password manager can save you time and money by securely storing gift voucher codes and making them available to you while you’re on the road or unexpectedly in a shop you have a gift card for, without the hassle of having to look up the original email. Pick the method that fits your needs, and enjoy a plastic-free life!
Best Password Managers of 2018