There are varying opinions on gift cards. One school of thought says that giving a gift card shows that you're a lazy gift-buyer, and that you spent little or no time thinking about something personal for that person on your gift list. The other theory, which I subscribe to, is that gift cards are perfect, because they allow you to pick the exact amount you're going to spend, and that the gift card allows the recipient to choose anything they'd like, in the size and color they want, saving them the trouble of exchanging or returning something that didn't work, or that they didn't like. Plus, I've always felt that if someone was kind enough to provide me with a gift, it's pretty crappy of me to complain about it not being "oh-so-personal." I'm grateful that someone held me in high enough esteem to give me a gift.

CardHub has come out with a list of the most popular gift cards this year, along with a couple of tips for maximizing what you give and get. They list the top 50, but let's take a look at the top ten:

  1. Visa Gift Card
  2. Amazon Gift Card
  3. American Express Gift Card
  4. iTunes Gift Card
  5. Walmart Gift Card
  6. Target Gift Card
  7. Starbucks Gift Card
  8. Netflix Gift Card
  9. eBay Gift Card
  10. Google Play Gift Card

Gift cards are the most sought after type of present for the ninth straight holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation, with nearly 59% of consumers hoping to receive one this year. But not all gift cards are created equal, and it’s important to understand which ones are the most popular as well as what industry trends you can take advantage of in order to please the people on your gift giving list and save some money during this expensive time of year. After all, holiday shoppers are expected to shell out an average of $805 this year, with the average gift card buyer projected to spend more than $173 on plastic alone.

CardHub also suggests you start combing your stash places for gift cards you've received in the past. By their estimates, $45 billion worth of gift cards have gone unused since 2005.

That’s important to note because those of us who have a lot of unredeemed value sitting in drawers at home can still get something out of it. After all, the CARD Act prohibits a gift card’s funds from expiring within five years.

The full list of 50, along with some money-saving tips, can be found here.

Win a gift card of your own right here:


More From WROK 1440 AM / 96.1 FM