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Present perfect

Pre-paid gift cards are the way to go if you want to skip convention this Diwali.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2010 14:57 IST
Vidya Balachander

With the festive season come difficult decisions — like what to gift your friends, family and co-workers. If conventional gifts like

mithai

and chocolate are simply not fun enough, and you’re unsure what else might be, you could go the prepaid gift card way.



A number of banks, including HDFC Bank, SBI, Central Bank of India and Axis Bank offer pre-paid gift cards that are valid in establishments that accept MasterCard or Visa. The procedure is simple enough: you purchase a card for a fixed amount between Rs 500 and Rs 50,000 from the bank, which you can then gift. The gift cards work like gift vouchers, except that they can be used in a wider range of establishments, and can also be redeemed online.



According to Uttam Nayak, group country manager of Visa for India and South Asia, pre-paid gift cards make for less ostentatious presents than hard cash. “They are a good substitute for cash, which Indians commonly gift,” he says. Besides, unlike a gift voucher, you don’t need to redeem a prepaid gift card in one go. “The amount on (a Visa) prepaid gift card need not all be used together, but can be used in installments over a period of time, at different outlets and at ATMs,” says Nayak.