Gift cards have long been one of the best ways to send a treat to friends and family. Unlike traditional gifts, you don’t have the same stress of choosing the “right” thing. You simply send a specific amount of money towards a particular retailer, restaurant, or service, and the recipient chooses what they’d like with those funds.
Our Top Picks
For Books and Merchandise
For Trips and Experiences
For a Retail Shopping Spree
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Why Send an eGift Card vs. a Traditional Card?
- Step 1: Find Your Gift Card
- Step 2: Choose and Customize Your Card
- Step 3: Send or Schedule Your Gift Card
- Step 4: Follow Up with the Recipient
- eGift Cards: Frequently Asked Questions
But, what if you’re not able to send a gift card through the mail or deliver it in-person? What if you don’t have access to the store, restaurant, or service? The good news is that it’s still possible to send a gift card.
In this case, you’ll need what’s called an eGift card or virtual gift card. In this guide, we’ll share how to instantly send eGift cards via text, DM, or email.
Why Send an eGift Card vs. a Traditional Card?
Why would you choose to send an eGift card in the first place, especially if it’s so easy to find traditional cards? There are a lot of reasons why an eGift card is often more practical. Not only does it pair perfectly with a virtual thank you note or another card, but it’s also easier for most recipients to use. It has a lot of benefits vs. a traditional, physical card.
- Distance: If you’re not local to the shop, restaurant, etc., a virtual gift card allows you to gift exactly what you had in mind without needing to travel or pick up the phone. For example, you could give your parents a night out at their favorite restaurant, even if you live across the country.
- Secure: A digital gift card is also more secure. Since gift cards are typically treated like cash, if they’re lost, that’s it. A digital gift card is much easier to keep secure.
- Eco-friendly: Additionally, virtual gift cards are more sustainable. Because they don’t need to be printed on plastic, they save resources.
- Customizable: eGift cards are also highly customizable. You can choose a specific design or even add your own text, unlike with physical cards.
- Instant: Last but not least, it’s easy to instantly send your online gift card without needing to deliver anything in person or wait for the mail.
Ultimately, with so much flexibility with online gift cards nowadays, it’s no wonder these are the first choice for many people.
Whether you’re sending best wishes or looking for sympathy gift ideas, an eGift card is a great idea. Depending on how close you are to someone who's grieving, offering to run errands, helping plan a virtual funeral on a platform like GatheringUs, or simply offering a shoulder to cry on will likely be much appreciated as well.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to getting started.
Step 1: Find Your Gift Card
First, you’ll need to find your online gift card. There are gift cards for just about anything you can think of, from restaurants and dining to experiences. Think of the places your recipient likes to visit and what they like to do.
Another option to find a gift card is to use an online search tool. There are some platforms that make organizing and sending online gift cards a breeze. Instead of searching individual websites, see a number of offerings in one place:
Consider the purpose of the gift card when making your choice. For example, if you’re planning a get well gift, you might want to consider something that can be used during recoveries like a gift to a streaming service or food delivery. It pays to get a bit creative.
Step 2: Choose and Customize Your Card
Next, if you have the option, choose and customize your card. Many online card providers have multiple designs to choose from, and you might even be able to design your own. Again, consider the purpose of the gift. Choosing a design with the right theme helps set the stage for your gift, even if it’s digital.
When customizing your card, pay close attention to the following to make it special:
- To/from: Make sure you spell the recipient’s name properly in the to field, and use a name they’ll recognize in the from field. Avoid using placeholders like “friend,” “dear,” or “love” unless you know they’ll recognize the nickname.
- Message: Share a special message along with your gift. Wish them well and let them know you’re thinking of them.
- How to send: Some online platforms let you customize how you send your card. You can send via email, text, or even DM. Be sure you’re using the choice that’s easiest and most accessible for your recipient.
- Timing: In many cases, you also have the option to customize when your card is virtually sent to your recipient. Most people want the digital gift sent as soon as possible, but you might want to wait until a special occasion (birthday, holiday, and so on).
Step 3: Send or Schedule Your Gift Card
Now it’s time to hit send. Before you do, double-check the following to make sure everything is received properly:
- Spelling: The last thing you want to do is misspell someone’s name or make an embarrassing typo. Use spell check software just in case.
- Email address or phone number: If you’re sending your eGift via email or phone text message, ensure everything is entered properly. Sending to the wrong address could mean the wrong person gets your gift!
- Schedule: Check the schedule you chose to make sure your eGift gets there right on schedule.
Once you’re ready, click send! That’s all there is to it. There’s no denying that this is one of the easiest ways to send a gift.
Step 4: Follow Up with the Recipient
Last but not least, be sure to follow up with the recipient on the day they’re supposed to receive their virtual gift. If it’s a holiday or special day, they might not be checking their messages as frequently. Let them know to be on the lookout for your eGift so they don’t miss it.
From there, stay in touch with them in case they have any trouble with it. Most likely, they’ll put it to use right away, and that’s all you need to do!
eGift Cards: Frequently Asked Questions
Because you don’t buy eGift cards in-person, you might have some questions about how this works. Not all eGift cards are the same, and a lot of these answers depend on the specific retailer or service provider. In general, these frequently asked questions should help with any misunderstandings.
How do eGift cards work?
Basically, eGift cards work very similarly to regular gift cards. They can be redeemed online or in-person. Sometimes they’re able to be stored on one’s phone, on an app, or can even be printed for a physical copy.
When your recipient is ready to use their gift card, all they need to do is present the code or log in online. It’s that simple!
How long do eGift cards take to send?
Because they’re digital, eGift cards are much faster than physical gift cards. There’s no need to buy postage, print anything, or wait. If you don’t select a specific date/time to send the card, it will be sent immediately. Most recipients have their digital gift within a few minutes or hours at most. It’s very fast!
How long do eGift cards last?
Most eGift cards don’t have an expiration date. They can be used at any time, and they don’t go bad or have any limitations. However, always check with the specific retailer or service provider to make sure there are no restrictions on the card.
Do eGift cards cost more money?
Compared to traditional gift cards, eGifts don’t cost any additional fees. While some online gift card providers do charge a maintenance fee, this is uncommon. Most digital gift cards are the same price as standard gift cards, and you don’t have to pay any extras to activate them.
Send a Digital Gift Card Today
There are a lot of reasons to send a digital gift card compared to a physical card. Whether you’re running late, you want to send one suddenly, or physical distance is in the way, an eGift is always a good idea. Not only does this cut down on unnecessary plastic, but it’s also easy to customize to fit the recipient.
Have you ever sent a digital gift card? It’s easy to get started via email, text, or even DM. Follow these steps above to send the perfect gift at the perfect time without the stress.
Need more virtual gift ideas? Read our guide on the best digital gifts.