May 19, 2024

Gift Cards for College Students

College is a great time to help your kid launch into the working world. They’ll gain essential skills, meet helpful mentors, and join a community of people with similar interests and goals. But venturing into adulthood can be overwhelming for any young adult, let alone one about to leave the nest for the first time and live independently in another city. With everything from housing and tuition to new friends and opportunities coming at them all at once, college students can feel pretty stretched regarding finances. Fortunately, there are plenty of thoughtful ways you can help ease their transition from home to campus life – including with a gift card!

Gift cards for college students are a simple yet thoughtful way for you to support your child as they make this big transition into adulthood. In addition to being an affordable present that won’t take up space in their new apartment, it will give them access to money they can spend however they choose without worrying about repayments. Peace of mind is critical for scholastic achievements.

Best Gift Cards for College Students: What to Look For

Gift cards are popular with college students. They can be loaded with money to cover basic expenses like food, utilities, and rent. They also come in convenient denominations that fit student budgets. For gift card recipients, the key is to choose a card that fits their lifestyle. For example, if they live off campus, it’s best to opt for a reloadable card to load as much money as they need to cover their expenses each semester. On the other hand, a cash-back card is best if they plan on living at home since they can use it instead of carrying cash. Look for the following features to be sure you’re choosing the gift cards for students:

Online access

Choices for digital gift cards are growing, so make sure you can use your card online. If your recipient has a smartphone or tablet, this will be easy. However, if they don’t have access to technology at home or school, you should consider another option.


If your college student plans to use their gift card on the go (i.e., going out to eat or renting movies), make sure the card has the currency they need (e.g., USD). Some cards only offer one payment option (e.g., only accept GBP), which can be limiting and inconvenient. While card companies use this practice to shield themselves from currency fluctuations, it can significantly inconvenience customers, especially when traveling.


A reloadable card with an easy-to-use interface will be much more convenient than a non-reloadable one requiring multiple steps and long waits between purchases. This is especially important if your student plans to use the card for dining out or other purchases outside of school.


Make sure the card includes the student’s name. This does not have to be engraved on the card but printed somewhere on it. If possible, include a student photo as well. Make sure that the student can use the card when they arrive at their dorm room or university and that they can use it at any store that accepts free gift cards for students. Getting these things right will go a long way toward making them feel welcomed and cared for when they start college. It is important to remember that having a gift card for college students means someone cares about them and wants to ensure they have what they need when they start school.

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Amount of money involved

Consider how much you want to put into it. If you’re giving a simple $25 gift card, then there’s not much thought required in choosing the retailer or brand. However, the gifter must consider other weightier factors if the amount is high—for example, the student’s favorite pastime, plans, and hobbies.

If you give a gift card to someone going to college for the first time, you should also consider what kind of experience they will want to have during their first year of school. Are they looking for a relaxing semester at a small high school or a more challenging academic environment? These considerations can help you decide which type of card would be best for your loved one.

Popular Gift Cards for College Students and How They Compare

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or your child, plentiful card options can make shopping online or in brick and mortar stores a breeze. While most companies have secured their systems and made it almost impossible to compromise, the threat of losing money through cards lingers in everyone’s mind. Even though gift cards can be valid for years, they’re often used within shorter periods, i.e., within a month or months. Below are some of the most popular and preferred gift cards by students.

Amazon Gift Cards

Amazon is one of the most popular retailers worldwide, and its Amazon Prime membership is a great way to save money on all kinds of products. You can get an Amazon gift card from Amazon or from retailers like Walmart and Best Buy, which sell them at the register. Amazon offers various brands and styles, from clothing and accessories to electronics and toys, which means those with its gift cards can use them flexibly.

Google Pay

Google Pay is an easy way to pay for purchases by linking them to your debit or credit card. You can also use it to add money to Google Play and Google Wallet accounts. They have recently introduced virtual gift cards that you can give students to buy from different online and physical stores. Users hail Google Pay as one of the most secure digital wallets in the world.

Best Buy Gift Cards

Best Buy offers gift cards from traditional retailers like Best Buy and Sephora and smaller boutique shops like Urban Outfitters, Free People, and more! They offer a wide selection of electronics, computers, accessories, and more at competitive prices. Best Buy gift cards are good for anyone who wants something new or refurbished but doesn’t want to deal with credit cards online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Best Buy has been known for its fantastic customer service, so if you’re looking for something specific, this might be the best choice!


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