Which is the Better Gift: Cash or a Gift Card?

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Main image courtesy of Unsplash.

There are all kinds of occasions where getting a gift for someone is a very welcome idea. We all know that birthdays and the holidays are great times to show those you love you appreciate them with a gift, whether big or small. But those aren’t the only times you may want to surprise someone with a little something. Holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, graduations, weddings, and baby showers, (and many more occasions) you want to enhance with a gift. If you know the recipient, or know exactly what they want from a registry, you can always opt to go out and purchase that item.

But what if you don’t know what the person wants, but you want to make sure your gift will be put to good use? When faced with this situation, lots of folks turn to giving cash or a gift card to ensure that the gift is something the recipient will love. But which is better? Glad you asked because today we’re fleshing out:

  • The pros and cons of giving cash
  • The benefits of gift cards
  • A third option with lots of pluses ✅- GiftYa (including some must-have digital GiftYa gift cards)

The low down on GiftYa 🎁

But first, you may find yourself asking, what is a GiftYa? GiftYas are digital gift cards that you can text or email to your friends and family for any occasion, or just because. These gifts are always welcomed because they’re all digital, which means you’ll never have to worry about a physical gift card getting lost, or never used. You can just choose the vendor, the amount, even personalize it with a message or a video, and hit send. The recipient will always know how much balance they have left, and you (as the sender) can even see when they redeem your gift!

Cash - Pros and cons

Why you might want to give cash as a gift

Cash is a time-tested gift that works for lots of folks. Image courtesy of Unsplash

They say that money makes the world go round, which is why it’s been a go-to option to give as a gift for years. Cash can be given for a variety of occasions, and it is often welcomed by recipients because they can choose to spend it on whatever they want. There are few people out there that would say no to having more cash in their pocket! Giving cash as a gift can be very sentimental, as it is given to the recipient to ensure their prosperity, and that their future is bright. This is why you’ll typically see people giving cash to recent graduates of high school or college—so they can put it towards immediate needs, or choose to save up for something big in their future.

In reality you can give cash as a gift for almost any occasion though, from birthdays, to Christmas, or even as a housewarming gift. Let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of giving cash to help make your decision a little easier.


  • Very flexible. One of the biggest benefits of going with a cash gift is that it is incredibly flexible. This means that you can choose to use it anywhere and on anything. That gives the recipient a lot of freedom to choose exactly what they want to spend it on. Whether it’s something small that will help make their day better, they can put it towards a larger purchase, or choose to save in their bank account—a gift of cash allows them the option to choose what they want to do. 
  • Always useful. Giving cash to someone means that there will always be something they can spend it on! Hopefully your gift won’t need to be used to pay a bill or for the week’s groceries, but if that’s what they need it for, that’s their choice! Cash is always useful in certain situations when it’s “cash only” as well. You’ll still find vendors that only accept cash! Additionally you don’t need to worry about spending cash at a particular store, which is the case with most gift cards.
  • Doesn’t expire. While most gift cards give you years to spend before they expire, you don’t have to worry about this at all with cash. The recipient can spend it immediately, or they can put it away in their bank account to use when the time arises. 
  • Personal to the recipient. Cash allows the recipient to choose to spend it or save it for when they really need it. There’s no pressure to go out and use it because cash can be used anywhere and for anything!


  • Impersonal gift. While cash may be seen as the universal gift, it may also appear a little impersonal to the recipient. When you give something like a gift card as a gift, it shows that you went out of your way to get them credit to a store that would interest them. Whether it’s for clothes, a hobby, or to a restaurant, those are all more specific to the recipient’s interests.
  • Can be spent on trivial things. One of the biggest bonuses of cash is that it can be spent anywhere (or saved for another day), but it can also mean that the recipient may end up spending it on something trivial. While it’s up to them how they decide to use it, you want your gift to bring them joy over something they can purchase with it, not necessarily to pay for gas or groceries. But again, that’s up to the person who receives the cash!
  • Nothing to attach the gift to. When you get a gift card, you may be more likely to associate it with a certain memory from the occasion you received it. When you get cash, it may seem more like a transaction than someone going out of their way to get something a little special to mark the occasion. 

Gift card - Pros and cons

What are the benefits of giving a gift card?

When you give someone a gift card to a particular store, it shows that you thoughtfully chose something the recipient will enjoy! Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Gift cards are another great option when it comes to gift giving. There are all kinds of stores that offer easy to use digital or plastic gifts, from national chains to local small businesses. Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages.


  • Personalized. Getting someone a gift card means you took their interests into consideration, and it is a very thoughtful gift. If someone loves books, you can get them a gift card to book store, or if they always wanted to try a certain restaurant, you can give them a reason to try it with a gift card! A lot of stores also include design personalization as well, and you can choose to include a particular scene on the card, or even leave a message for the recipient. 
  • Don’t worry about returns. When you purchase an actual product for someone, you’ll always run into the possibility that it’s the wrong size, color, or that they just won’t like it. You don’t have to worry about this at all with a gift card. Having a gift card allows the recipient to pick out exactly what they want, when they’re ready to purchase it. 
  • Easy to send. You can send a digital gift card to the recipient in seconds with their email address or phone number, but it’s also convenient to put it into an envelope and mail it, or give it to the recipient in person. 
  • Prevents impulsive spending. One major bonus of choosing to give a gift card means that the recipient won’t be tempted to spend it on something impulsive or trivial. Instead, they’ll be able to spend it on something that they’ve taken the time to consider, and is definitely going to be an item they want. A gift card is a great way to ensure they also have a memory associated with the gift, whether it’s from a birthday, Christmas, or another celebration, they’ll think of the person who gave them the gift card when they use it!
  • Great add-on gift. If you already purchased a gift, and are looking for something a little extra, gift cards are a great add on. Sometimes you just want to add on an additional $10 or $25, and a gift card is perfect for this.


  • Can only be used at a specific store. Most gift cards (apart from Visa and Mastercard gift cards) can only be used at the store or vendor where they were purchased. If you buy a Macy’s gift card, you have to use it in one of their stores or online, which can be limiting. 
  • Some have expiration dates. Most gift cards do have an expiration date, and according to the law, is not to be before five years from the date it was activated. Although most recipients use their gift cards, some may forget about them, and end up never spending them.
  • Not the right vendor. Although a gift card gives a recipient the choice to purchase whatever they want from the vendor, if the gift card is for a store or restaurant they never go to, the gift card can end up being re-gifted or sold.

What about a GiftYa?

What sets GiftYa apart?

There’s a new, better way to send gift cards. Image courtesy of GiftYa.

Both cash and gift cards have their benefits and drawbacks, and which one you choose to use as a gift really depends on what you think the recipient will benefit most from. But did you know there’s another option that gives the recipient even more choice? GiftYa of course! GiftYa is an all digital gift card platform that offers over 230K options, that are both local and nationwide—and there are lots of reasons why it’s the better way to send a gift card.

  • Customizable. Every GiftYa can be personalized with a design, a photo, a video, or a heartfelt message to the recipient. 
  • Easy to send. You can choose to send it to their email or through a text. No more gift cards lost in the mail!
  • Easy to use. Your recipient will redeem the gift card through their phone and can send the funds directly to their preferred debit or credit card to use. (You can also choose to use it as an eGift card). And if they don’t like the vendor you’ve chosen, no worries. They can swap it out for a list of great alternative merchants!
  • Can cash out balance. If the recipient has a balance remaining on the GiftYa, they can always cash it out to their linked debit or credit card.
  • Know when recipients open and use your GiftYa. The sender will get notification when the recipient has opened and used their GiftYa. If the gift card hasn’t been used, you’ll know so you can send them a reminder to use it!

GiftYa digital gift cards everyone wants to receive

These GiftYa merchants are sure to please anyone you need to send a gift to.


Text an Amazon gift card

When you want to be sure your gift card will be used ASAP, send over an Amazon GiftYa! No matter what the recipient needs, whether it’s clothes, pet treats, furniture, or a new set of towels, you can find endless options for everything at Amazon. This is the card everyone secretly wants anyway!

Text an Amazon gift card


Email a Visa gift card

A Visa GiftYa is always a welcomed sight! You can easily email or text this GiftYa over to any loved one. The best part? They can use it anywhere that Visa is accepted, which is just about everywhere.

Email a Visa gift card

Will you send cash or a gift card?

No matter whether you choose to give cash or a gift card, it’s always the thought that counts. Consider opting for a GiftYa and give your recipient even more protection and choice!

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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