NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Gift cards have been the present of choice for four years in row, according to the National Retail Federation. Favored for its convenience, the gift card is not, however, without drawbacks. After all, gift cards are easily lost, stolen or even forgotten in the holiday hustle and bustle. Fortunately, this year several developers have come out with iPhone and Android applications that help you buy, track, use and even give your holiday gift cards. MainStreet took a look at a few of your best options.
You can use the Wildcard free app for the iPhone to not only use and track the gift cards you receive, but to also give gift cards to your friends and family. Users can purchase their gift cards directly through the app or upload store-bought cards by entering in the card numbers. Once a card is registered to the account, the bar code created by the app can be scanned by participating retailers, thus negating the need to carry around a stack of gift cards in your wallet. Those who want to give gift cards to friends or family can buy the cards for themselves then transfer the balance to the recipient via e-mail or the recipient’s own Wildcard account.
You can only purchase, gift, use and/or track gift cards sold by the retailers in Wildcard’s network, which, while limited, is broad compared to other apps on the market. Currently the app is supported by about 30 retailers, including 1-800-Flowers.com, American Airlines, BedandBreakfast.com, BikeShop.com, Cabela’s, Callaway Golf, CharityChoice, Crutchfield, Golfsmith, Land’s End, Papa John’s, Lowe’s, Nike, REI, Sears, ShoeBuy.com, Travelocity, Wine.com and Zappos.
iPhone users can also keep track of their gift cards using Tango Card, which features e-mail alerts that remind you to use your cards. All e-cards entered can be used directly in stores. You can also buy gift cards through the application, but similar to Wildcard, the cards available for purchase are limited. Gift cards available through this app include Amazon, Gap, Home Depot, Nike, Pottery Barn, REI, Rixty, SpaFinder, Starbucks, Target and Zappos.
JunoWallet Gift Cards
Android users can get the JunoWallet free app to store all of their gift card information in one place and keep track of their balances. You can actually use voice activation to enter new cards into your account.
Users can also purchase select gift cards for featured retailers (based on availability) and receive promotional mobile gift cards and certificates from sponsors. JunoWallet will send you notifications whenever promotional gifts become available. A version of this app is also available for the iPhone or iPad, voice entry activation not included.
Stumped on what to get your niece for the holidays? Here are the best gift cards to buy this holiday season.