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Why are consumers buying themselves gift cards?

It's still early to place a number on the percentage of gift cards acquired by consumers for self-use, but it's difficult to find a gift card provider or retailer that hasn't noted the trend.
Retailers have found the benefit o relying on closed-loop programs and they 're encouraging their users to follow. " They're saying this is the top of wallet card for my store. It helps control payments costs and it helps gather customer information It also helps them manage their own operation better" , said Ben Jackson , senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group.
Self use gift cards are also driven by the fact that these accounts have become multipurpose financial services tools  Gift cards now come with account management tools, plus they are perceived to be more secure and private than credit and debit cards. They are also aligned with loyalty programs that consumers are learning to master.
Digital gift card providers work with a wide range of big-name retailers to enable closed-loop digital and mobile gift cards, some of these providers allow transferring money directly from PayPal. Even with closed-loop digital cards they are seeing a trend in consumers using their gift card accounts as budgeting tools.

"Aite Group forecast that prepaid retail transactions will grow to $252 billion dollars market-wide by 2016, with prepaid making up 5 percent of all retail transactions"