Don't let bad gift cards happen to good people.
People like gift cards. People want gift cards for Christmas, Hanukkah, their birthdays, whatever — hand over the plastic, people! Why? It's mostly because they don't trust you to get them what they want. Don't take it personally! If you're going to return the sweater anyway, the thinking goes, why not just get the store credit up front? But the thing about people and gift cards is that — at least in this case — people are wrong. Because over time, gift cards give diminishing joy. See this scientific (well, not technically scientific) illustration of the decreasing joy a typical gift card brings:
In general, gift cards are terrible. (Spoiler: There's an exception, as you may have guessed — the Wealthsimple Gift Card.) Partly because they're impersonal. Partly because they're a form of corporate-larceny-lite — Consumer Reports says that a third of all gift cards are never used at all. Which makes a gift card similar to a charitable donation, only one that often goes to a giant for-profit company that doesn't need your charity.
And that's not even to mention that a lot of gift cards are for stuff you buy anyway so they do the opposite of changing your life. A gift card can simply mean that for a while you buy your regular pumpkin scone frosted chai-tino lattes with a different piece of plastic. Until you don’t have enough left on it and you end up letting Starbucks keep that last 37 cents.
Some gift cards seem great because they are free money. But they are free money that you almost always end up wasting.
While other gift cards entice you to buy things you never wanted. And then you buy them and realize too late that you still don’t want them.
Which is why we designed the Wealthsimple gift card to be the only gift card that's actually good. Why is it good? First because it's money, and people generally like money. But more than that because it's the opposite of wasteful. Because it can jumpstart a future. Because it can set someone (like yourself!) on a path toward financial freedom. (We are really really into financial freedom. It's good because it doesn't get smaller. It grows. And grows. And if you leave it for long enough, it may end up helping you buy your first house, or retire early, or send your kids to college.
How good is it? See the graph below. And note: we even stuck to emotional returns, since we thought it would be unfair to compare financial returns to other cards when we’ve got Modern Portfolio Theory behind us.