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Group gifting made easy

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Holiday giving often means chipping in for gifts for family, friends, teachers, or coaches. Pooling money might mean better presents –– but it can be a logistical nightmare to organize. Well, there could there be an easier way. Consumer Reports reveals several websites that promise to take the stress out of group gifting.

HipChip sells Visa gift cards as well as gift cards for dozens of restaurants and retailers. It sends out invitations and reminders for you –– charging each contributor a 50 cent processing fee. The Visa gift cards carry an additional $5 to $35 fee depending on the denomination.

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GiftStarter goes beyond gift cards. How about a Sennheiser headset for a gaming co-worker, an Apple Watch for the recent graduate, or a Solar Travel bag for a friend out to save the planet? But the 8 percent fee can boost the total quickly, especially on high-ticket items. You need to decide whether the convenience is worth it.

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Another site, E-Gifter, doesn’t charge a fee and offers gift cards for more than 250 retailers, restaurants, and travel partners. You can invite people by Facebook or text message, and each person can add a photo or record a video message that will be sent with the gift. That means you and your crew can be big spenders with very little effort.

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Consumer Reports says one important thing to note about these websites is that they don’t offer refunds. If you’re buying an actual gift, be sure to shop around and compare prices on items so you don’t end up paying more than you realize for the convenience. And remember to always read a site’s privacy policy before placing an order.

Consumer Reports

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright © 2016 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.