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Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

Throughout 2015, you may want to think about avoiding plastic — gift cards that is. Just as giving actual bricks-and-mortar gifts gave way to gift cards, those cards are now giving way to their virtual versions.

The early fans of electronic gift cards? Millennials. In a new survey from Bankrate.com, 14 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they’ve given or received a mobile gift card, double the share of 30- to 49-year-olds and more than the 6 percent of 50- to 64-year olds who had done so.

Respondents weren’t asked why they preferred one type of gift card over another, but millennials may have offered a hint. They were about twice as likely as other consumers to say they’ve lost a gift card before they could spend down the balance.

Electronic gift cards, which can be accessed through e-mail and via smartphone apps, may appeal to people worried about losing the cash, says Jeanine Skowronski, credit card analyst for Bankrate.com. “[Electronic] gift cards are definitely harder to lose,” she says. “It can exist in your e-mail, as opposed to a piece of plastic that may or may not make it into your wallet.”

Aside from being easier to track, virtual gift cards, which can be bought with a few clicks of the mouse, are more convenient than plastic gift cards, she says. (Not to mention, they’re a quick fix for procrastinators in search of a last-minute gift. No wrapping needed!)

National Gift Card offers a variety of gift cards that can be easily accessed from a mobile device and redeemed and scanned from that device. “I frequently use my phone to redeem eGift cards,” said Samantha Goldstein, the NGC marketing director and millennial. “For example, when I go to Starbucks I almost always access my eGift card from the Starbucks application to earn extra rewards. I also enjoy online shopping and I like to be able to easily view my eGift card number from my email instead of digging a plastic card out of my wallet,”

Electronic gift cards are growing more common. This year, 59 percent of gift cards are available electronically, up from 41 percent in 2010, according to Bankrate.com, which also analyzed the terms and conditions for 62 widely held gift cards.

Gift card program buyers can view National Gift Card’s full list of eGift cards and Millennial-friendly gift card brand options on www.ngc-group.com.

Source: Washington Post