Intro: Just when you thought the popularity and ease of gift cards couldn't get any bigger, consumers have another instant way to give a gift this holiday season.
Take VO: 2011 is the year of the e-card. Big retailers such as Best Buy, Gap and Pizza Hut, among others, and one major card issuer - American Express - all introduced e-cards this year.
SOT: Janna Herron, Credit Cards Reporter/Writer - Bankrate.com
("The increase in online and mobile transactions has caused a huge surge in retailers offering e-cards. These e-cards can be purchased online and sent to the recipients email or directly to their phone - which makes it the most convenient way to give a gift - and that's huge during the holiday season.")
For the fifth year in a row - and at the highest level in the survey's history - 57.7 percent of shoppers say they'd like to receive a gift card this holiday season.
Bankrate.com's 2011 gift card study surveyed 63 gift cards, eight network-branded gift cards and 55 other gift cards. In all, more than half of the cards in the study were available as e-cards, too.
Outside of the growing convenience of gift cards - most retailers in Bankrate's study also have no dormancy or maintenance fees and most importantly - no expiration dates - making them all the more popular.
There are a couple of exceptions for both open and closed-loop cards.
SOT: Janna Herron, Bankrate.com
"Explain what a closed-loop card is and which two retailers (HEB and Pilot) have inactivity fees.")
Continue VO: (Begin full-page reveal of all eight network gift cards)
With open-loop cards - those use-anywhere cards that carry the American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa logo - fees are more common. In fact, seven of the eight open loop or network-branded cards surveyed - feature either a dormancy, maintenance or purchase fee. With only the Chase Visa gift card fee-free.