Gift cards may not feel like the most creative present, but one thing’s for certain: They are darn practical. As someone who’s particularly picky (hey, I have limited apartment — and suitcase — space), the no-frills gift can mean I get exactly what I want or need without the giver bending over backwards to read my mind.
According to Wallethub, I’m in decent company — 41% of Americans want a gift card this holiday season, and this marks the 11th consecutive year where they’re the most popular type of present.
But nearly $1 billion in gift card value went unused in 2015 — say whaaaat?!
To keep you from making the mistake of giving useless store credit, here are the most popular gift cards people want (and so, will likely use):
5. American Express
December is also a prime time to score discounts on gift cards, according to Karl Quist, president of PriceBlink. Apple, for example, usually offers a 20% off discount on iTunes cards, and many retailers and restaurants get customers in the door by offering a bonus gift card on top of a purchase.
Pro tip: If you do end up with a gift card you’ll never use, resale sites like Cardpool will buy your physical or e-gift card for up to 92% of the card’s value. Raise lets you list cards at your own price and takes a 12% selling fee. And on Gift Card Granny, sell it for cash or swap it for a gift card to another store. You can also use any of these to score gift cards at a discount (e.g. you pay $40 for a gift card worth $50 in value).