While¬†gift cards¬†won’t necessarily elicit tears of joy, they¬†actually can make a lot of sense. Gift cards are a great choice for people you want to recognize, but don’t know well enough to choose a personal gift, or for when you have a limited budget. Here are three¬†helpful apps that might take the gift-giving pressure off, just a little.

 

Gyft gift card app

Gyft app now with video messaging

We¬†are big fans of Gyft¬†(also shown at top), because hey, anything to make our lives easier, and Gyft certainly does that. Not only can you use Gyft to give gift cards from 200+ retailers¬†(Starbucks, Amazon, iTunes, Whole Foods, Macy’s, and tons more), but you can also use it to keep track of your own gift cards from anywhere at all. Which means no more hauling around a load of plastic gift cards; or worse, not having the right one¬†on you when you make a purchase.

All you need to do is give Gyft access to your contact list or Facebook friends — don’t worry, it won’t post to your timeline unless you give it permission¬†— pick a recipient, select¬†the card for the lucky guy or gal and pay. Voila, gift giving is done in minutes. Your recipient doesn’t even need the app to receive the card

As a bonus, you can also earn points on gift cards you give, and eventually have enough rewards to snag a few for yourself. (Free, iOS and Android)

 

Wonder gift card app

Wonder gift card app

When we¬†think about gift cards, we¬†tend to think of big box retailers like Best Buy, Starbucks, Amazon, and iTunes,¬†but giving a gift card to a local boutique or someone’s favorite neighborhood coffee shop or toy store is¬†a lot more personal. The ¬†Wonder app¬†lets you do that. With more than 2 million large and local retailers having signed up already,¬†there are lots of possibilities for a perfect gift match.

You don’t have to have the app to give or redeem¬†a Wonder gift card, but you do have to create an account and link a credit card, which makes it a little less user-friendly than some others. However¬†the Wonder gift cards never expire; not that they won’t get used by the end of January.¬† (Free, iOS)

 

GoWallet gift card app

GoWallet gift card app

GoWallet works similarly to Gyft in that it helps you track your own¬†gift cards¬†and¬†give gift cards to others, both via the app and online. GoWallet boasts about 300 retailers to choose from, including the retail chains and restaurants¬†you’d expect to see, along with some interesting surprises to me,¬†like Celebrity Cruise Lines and the San Francisco Giants.

You don’t earn points on GoWallet for purchases, like you do with Gyft,¬†but GoWallet offers a neat “sell back” feature: If you have a slew of gift cards you don’t think you’ll ever use, you can sell them for up to 92% of their value and receive¬†an Amazon gift card in its place. Personally, I¬†can always find something to buy on Amazon. (Free, iOS and Android)

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