Teen gift cards are great when you don't know what to buy for a teenager's birthday, Christmas celebration, or another special occasion. They give a teenager the option to buy whatever he or she wants, which means you know your money went to something he or she will truly enjoy.
The Best Gift Cards for Teens
Gift cards are available at almost any brick-and-mortar store. You can usually find large displays featuring dozens of different gift card options. If you're planning ahead, most retailers sell their own gift cards on their website.
Flexible Gift Cards
Go beyond the basic Visa gift card with these flexible gift card options. Flexible gift cards are best as gifts for teens you don't know well because they cover a variety of things or places teens typically like. Make the card feel more personal by choosing card designs that fit the teen's personality.
- Groupon: Covering deals on everything from live event tickets to fashion and tech goods, you can get a Groupon gift card as an eGift or a standard plastic gift card.
- Happy Teen: Geared toward teens, this general gift card is good at Barnes & Noble, Sephora, Regal Cinemas, Nike, Dave & Busters, American Eagle, or Jamba Juice and comes in $5 increments starting at $20.
- Visa Everywhere: While regular Visa gift cards are great, these categorized cards allow teens to shop anywhere that fits the category. Options include "Fuel Everywhere," "Movies Everywhere," and "Style Everywhere."
- Teen's Choice: Choose a denomination from $25 to $500 in $25 dollar increments teens can use to shop at Regal Cinemas, Burger King, The Cheesecake Factory, Dave & Busters, Nike, Jamba Juice, or Cold Stone Creamery.
Cool Clothing Store Cards
Each teen has their own style, so make sure you understand what kind of clothing or accessories they like to buy before choosing a gift card focused on style purchases.
- Nike: Nike gift cards are versatile because they can be used online or in stores for shoes, clothes, or accessories from Nike, Hurley, and Converse. With more than 25 card designs they even come packaged in a mini Nike shoe box.
- Rent the Runway: This card is a great gift for girls because they can rent designer dresses for special occasions like homecoming and prom. Rentals start as low as $30 so make sure the card amount is at least that much.
- American Eagle: As one of the most popular teen brands, an American Eagle gift card is great because it can also be used at Aerie stores and features clothing and accessories for teen guys and girls.
- Zappos: The popular shoe retailer has gift cards you can buy online as either emailed gift codes or physical cards mailed to you. There are two designs for physical cards and 10 for emailed cards.
Hobby Gift Cards
A major part of the teen lifestyle involves participating in hobbies through school or with friends. Gift cards that celebrate their interests feel more personal than cash.
- Yaymaker: From Paint Nite to Plant Nite events, Yaymaker Anytime Passes cost $26 each when you buy two or more and are good for any Yaymaker event near you in the next 6 months.
- Hobby Lobby: Available in $10 to $200 amounts, a Hobby Lobby gift card gives creative teens free rein of the supplies they need for everything from clothing design to baking.
- GameStop: Teens who love PC, Xbox or PS4 video gaming will love getting a Gamestop gift card. Cards come in $25, $50, $100 or an amount you choose. You can buy the cards in a retail store or online with a digital code.
- Nintendo eShop: Teens who love to play their Nintendo Switch, Wii, or 3DS can use this card of $10, $20, $35, or $50 to choose from over 1,000 new games and you can buy the card in stores or online.
Entertainment Gift Cards
Movies, music, and events are what teens do. Give them the gift of entertainment with one of these gift cards.
- StubHub: Teens who love attending sporting events or concerts can use their StubHub gift card of $25 to $1,000 to purchase tickets for events of their choice.
- Netflix: For the teen who loves watching movies and shows at home with friends, a Netflix gift card can help pay for the monthly subscription cost. The lowest plans cost about $9 per month.
- Fandango: The movie ticket provider has gift cards with collectible designs based on your favorite movie characters. You can also buy special occasion cards with designs for Mother's Day, birthdays, or congratulations.
- Spotify: Teen music lovers can use their Spotify gift card to get the Premium version to listen to unlimited ad-free music. Premium plans cost about $10 per month.
- Google Play: Movies, music, games, shows, books, and more are available in the Google Play Store for teens to pick from with this gift card.
- PlayStation Store: Teens who own a PlayStation will appreciate this card that can help them purchase games, game add-ons, and movies through their PlayStation account.
Experiential Gift Cards
Teens don't always have enough expendable income to do the fun things they want. An experiential gift card gives them the funds they need to have fun.
- Get Air: This trampoline park offers fun events like Club Air where the park goes dark and turns into a massive dance club party.
- Dave & Busters: The ultimate arcade, Dave & Busters is like Chuck-E-Cheese for teens and adults. Gift cards can be used for food and gaming.
Unique Gift Cards
Teens today are planning for their future and the future of the world they live in. Help them reach their goals with unique gift cards that go beyond wants and likes.
- Stockpile: Teens can invest in fractional shares of stocks to potentially earn a return on your investment with this gift card. You can choose from gift cards for top brands like Apple and Nike or get the "Choose Your Own Stock" card so the teen makes the choice. Either way, anyone under age 18 has to create a stockpile account with an adult to redeem their gift card.
- Gift of College: Help your favorite teen save up for college with the Gift of College Gift Card that can be added to their 529 plan through Gift of College.
- Charity Choice: Teens don't have a lot of money to give, so this card gives them the opportunity to make a donation to the charity of their choice.
Buying Gift Cards Online
Many retailers today have a website and offer eGift cards and gift codes you can use while shopping online. You can often email the gift card to your email address then print it to give to your favorite teen or have it emailed directly to them at a scheduled time. Keep in mind most of these online gift cards can only be used online and teens may have to pay shipping costs for their purchases.
STEAM Digital eGift Card
On STEAM teens can buy games, software to do this like custom animation, and hardware. If you're a teen or gamer giving a STEAM Digital Gift Card to a friend and you already have a STEAM account, simply log in and choose the friend you want to give a gift to. Once you complete the transaction, it goes directly into their STEAM account.
Cloud 9 Living Experiential eGift Card
If a true adventure is what you want to give the Cloud 9 Living eGift card allows your favorite teen the opportunity to choose from hundreds of activities near them. Browse through their available experiences, then load the eGift card with an amount that pays in full for at least one of the options. There are 7 card design options available and you can include a personalized message.
Uber eGift Card
Since many teens don't have their own transportation, an Uber gift card can come in handy when they want to head out for a movie or shopping trip. The gift card can also be used for UberEATS. Teens who have the Uber app can upload their gift card, then use it to pay for a ride from an Uber driver.
Uncommon Goods eGift Card
Teens love to be unique and Uncommon Goods is an awesome place to shop for one-of-a-kind items. They even have a teen section loaded with fun accessories, games, and decor items. You can email a gift certificate for any amount from $5 to $1,000.
ThinkGeek eGift Card
Gamers, tech geeks, and all other types of nerds will find everything their imagination desires at ThinkGeek. From clothing to gadgets, teens can shop for almost anything with an eGift card ranging from $10 to $250. Gift cards can be used online at ThinkGeek and GameStop or in their stores.
Creative Packaging Options for Teen Gift Cards
Gift cards may feel like impersonal presents, but you can personalize the packaging in creative ways to make it feel more thoughtful.
- Put it in a puzzle box so they have to solve the puzzle before finding their gift.
- Buy a gift card box that's made to hold these little plastic cards.
- Wrap the card in a small box, then wrap that in a bigger box and continue this way until you have a giant box filled with smaller boxes.
- String up a mini clothesline at the teen's birthday party where guests can hang their gift cards using mini clothespins.
- Make a mini gift basket that shares themed items and includes the gift card.
- Use accessories like new gloves or socks to hold the card.
- Place the gift card inside a book like a bookmark.
Gift Card Benefits and Buying Tips
Buying a gift card might seem easier than buying a tangible present, but that's not necessarily true. There are many factors to consider before purchasing a gift card too.
Benefit of Gift Cards Over Goods
Have you ever bought a teenager a gift only to never see it again? It's probably because he or she really didn't like it or had no need for it. Not only does this hurt your feelings, but it's also not money well spent. This is why people everywhere are turning to teen gift cards instead of buying an item.
Benefit of Gift Cards Over Cash
When considering a present for a teenager, you may think of just giving him or her cash. However, with cash, the teen can buy something that you may not necessarily be proud of. With a gift card, you know where the recipient is using it and have some idea of what he or she will buy.
Choosing the Gift Card Amount
The amount you put on the gift card depends on what you want to give. While it may seem like you need to spend more on a card rather than on an item because the person will know exactly how much you spent, consider that you are giving the teen something he or she will use, which means your money is better spent.
The Gift That Keeps Giving
When you give a gift card, you give the excitement of your gift twice - once when it is received and once when it is redeemed. Make sure your gift card amount and retailer makes sense for the goods it can be used to purchase so the teen recipient can really enjoy their cool gift.