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Just when you thought the popularity and ease of gift cards couldn’t get any bigger or better, consumers have another instant way to give a gift this holiday season. I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

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 since last year’s survey.

According the National Retail Federation, 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.

To read the 2011 Gift Card Exclusive … just log onto Bankrate.com. I’m Kristin Arnold.