That has made the gift card market to become a multibillion-dollar industry, recording an incredible $171.5 billion in 2019, despite being less than two decades old.

Despite the fantastic figure, over $10 billion worth of gift cards is never redeemed. Combine that with unredeemed balances left inside the cards and the amount unused sours to around $32.9 million, approximately 19%. Most of these cards are left unused since they require you to go with them to your local store to redeem them. In other cases, damaged cards are not redeemed.

Thanks to advancements in technology, modern retailers are offering their customer digital gift cards to shop or give money to their friends. Today, companies like Walmart, Target, and Amazon offer their consumers digital accounts where they can redeem their digital gift cards for purchases.

Why use digital gift cards

Unlike the physical gift card, digital gift cards are irreplaceable. However, they’re almost impossible to lose. These digital gift cards work like regular gift cards, though it’s typically emailed to the recipient with a code to redeem. Generally, the recipient only needs to use the code on the card to redeem it.

When you buy an e-gift card, a copy is sent to your email as a way to confirm that your card was sent to the right person. You can use the card in an online store or at a brick and mortar establishment, though you’ll need to have the code readily available when redeeming. Here’s how you can use your digital gift card if you received it in your email.

How to use a digital gift card

If you’ve got a text or an email notification informing you of your gift card, congratulations! To redeem it, click the “Claim Your Gift” button, and you’ll be redirected to a new web browser where you might be asked to verify your email address. This security measure ensures that only the right recipient gets to redeem the card. That’s why you need to ensure you enter the correct email if you’re currently using more than one.

When redeeming your digital gift card in a store, you might need to print it out at first to have the code readily available. However, some electronic gift cards can also be redeemed via text, making them easy and convenient to use. Please note that you’ll need to buy an eGift Card for every merchant you want the recipient to receive the gifts from since e-gift cards are unique.

Bottom line

With digital gift cards, you can choose to purchase an amount that will cater to the recipient’s total purchases in a store or go with an amount that will give leftover. Fortunately, the rest of the cash can be maintained in a customer’s pay forward account that can be used like a gift card to pay for goods or services later.