Gift cards make holiday shopping easy. And if you're in a
holiday rush, it's even easier to give a digital gift card via
text, e-mail or Facebook. You need a smart phone or Internet access
-- plus a credit or debit card -- to send the card. The recipient
gets a text or e-mail with a bar code that he or she can print out
or scan at the store.
What Not to Buy During the Holidays
For smart-phone users,
lets you buy and text virtual cards with its mobile app (you need a
free Target.com account).
lets you send gift cards via text, e-mail or Facebook using its
American Eagle Outfitters
lets you text a gift card to the recipient's smart phone from its
Far more retailers allow you to e-mail gift cards. For someone
who loves clothes, send a
card. Those looking for furniture and home d�cor could
use an eGift card from
. For bookworms,
Barnes & Noble
also let you e-mail gift cards. If you have an
account, you can e-mail a gift card that can be used like cash
wherever American Express is accepted.
None of these digital cards charge a fee or expire. But if you
receive one, use it soon. Like a plastic gift card you stick in a
drawer, it can be forgotten if it languishes in your in-box.
This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance
magazine. For more help with your personal finances and
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. It might be the best investment you ever make.