Gift cards are a slam dunk. They’re flexible, can accommodate a wide range of budgets, and can be redeemed for all kinds of student essentials. Plus, you can give them in person, via email them or, in some cases, by text message. Here are a handful of great gift cards for students headed back to school this fall.
If you’re looking for something more specific, check out our other lists including the best back-to-school gifts under $50, the best phones for students, the best laptops, basic cooking equipment, more advanced gear for foodies and eight inexpensive things to keep students healthy at college.
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This is the most versatile gift card of them all: Amazon sells just about everything a student might need. They’re available in denominations between $1 and $2,000, and they come in nearly every conceivable configuration i.e. physical, printable and digital — deliverable in person or sent via email, text message or US mail.
Apple gift cards are available in denominations from $25 to $200 and can be redeemed online or in Apple stores for hardware devices, software purchases and services including iTunes.
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Take your student to the movies with a Fandango gift card that can be redeemed (online only, not in the theatre) for tickets or to rent or purchase movies streamed to the device of their choosing.
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Most students will be just fine with Netflix’s basic streaming plan, which costs $9 per month. So, a $108 gift card would cover their subscription for a year.
Sephora gift cards can be used to buy cosmetics, perfumes and skincare products. Available in denominations from $25 to $250.
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Spotify’s physical gift cards are available in denominations of $30 or $60. But there’s also a $99 Spotify Premium gift card that can be redeemed for one full year of the company’s ad-free, unlimited tier of service — but not for Spotify’s student plan.
Simple and effective: Use a Starbucks gift card to procure beans, snacks and baked goods or cups of coffee. Available as a physical card or email, dollar options range from $25 to $100.
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It’s not always easy for students to get to the grocery store or the mall, and an Uber gift card can help ease the burden of transportation. The company offers both digital and physical cards in denominations from $10 to $500, and you can give the gift of a ride or food delivery (through the Uber Eats service).
Available in $25, $50 and $100 denominations, Walgreens gift cards can be used to buy a whole bunch of things — including meds, bathroom supplies, cosmetics, food and drinks. Big caveat: These gift cards can’t be used at Walgreens Home Medical Centers or at Walgreens.com, however, and promo coupons or codes can not be applied to gift card purchases.
With more than 450 stores in the US, Whole Foods is a handy source for groceries and prepared foods for college students. Available in a variety of designs in denominations from $25 to $200.