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College students more likely to use promotional gift cards than ever before

September 10, 2011

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, more than 30 percent of parents with college-bound children will provide them with promotional gift cards or prepaid rewards card.

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, more than 30 percent of parents with college-bound children with will provide them with promotional gift cards or prepaid rewards cards.

Furthermore, it’s estimated that students and parents will spend approximately $3.4 billion on gift cards this year – a $1 billion increase from 2010 – with the average amount loaded onto the card being $60.

The increase in promotional gift cards for college students is primarily due to their lack of fees compared to credit cards, and the cards’ ability to adapt to new and improved technology.

College freshman can now use mobile gift cards and, after purchasing books and other school materials, have their smartphones scanned at the register as payment.

The Boston Globe reports that certain gift cards can also be redeemed for the use of digital textbooks – those that can be read on free software platforms such as Nook Study, VitalSource and CourseSmart. Students redeem a card at the register, receive an activation code and use it to download a textbook.  

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