Gift Cards Can Now Be Sent and Used Via Cell Phone, Email

Gift cards, the number one present for the past four years, can be sent to recipients via phone or email, CBS affiliate KFDA-TV reports.

"Whether it's Target or the grocery store, just to be able to pull it out rather than carrying cash or anything else cause it is very secure...it's kind of where the future's going,"  Barry McDonald, store manager at a Target in Amarillo, Texas, told KFDA.

To use a gift card via your cell phone, "you're going to have to download the app onto your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Once that app is on there you can go on and purchase basically a gift card and what it will do is it will put a scannable barcode onto your phone," McDonald explained to KFDA.

If you want to give the card to someone, you can just send them a text and they’ll be able to use it instantly.

"It's very simple, when you're ready to buy something all you have to do is pay with a flash of your phone," McDonald continued.

Chili's restaurant is just one of many companies now offering electronic gift cards via email. "You can personalize it, you can upload your own photos, you can just choose one of our pre-made templates and you can also put a personalized memo," Jacob Ramsay, manager of Chili's South Coulter, told KFDA.

The Better Business Bureau, however, warns consumers to be cautious when using e-gift cards. "It's very important to protect that device and maybe put some things into place that you might not have into place, like an access code to turn on the phone," the agency said, according to KFDA. It's also wise to review the terms and conditions, to make sure the gift card account is protected with a security code, consider downloading anti-virus software before using the card, and make sure you’re purchasing the card from a reliable business, the agency said, according to KFDA.
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