Tips for buying gift cards

By: Jill Maxwell
By: Jill Maxwell

One of the most popular holiday gifts is the gift card.  According to a recent survey, 55.2 prcent of adults said they would like to receive a gift card.  It's a great way to help someone get something they really want when you can't afford it. 

People who don't buy gift cards generally say they think they are impersonal or they are concerned about expiration dates and fees.  The first reason can be fixed and the second can be researched! 

Here are a few tips for buying and giving gift cards this holiday season:

1.  Do your research.  Know the policies for the gift cards.  Whenever you buy one, check all the print on the packaging.  If you buy at the bank, mall or from a credit card company, ask!  Most retailers don't have fees and expiration dates - they want your business.  Bank, mall and credit card company issued cards are more likely to have fees associated.

2.  If you think the gift of a gift card is impersonal, dress it up.  Put it in a small box along with a trinket or two.

3.  If you are buying a card from a retailer - make sure it's a reputable retailer.  Steer clear of online auction sites! 

4.  Make sure you keep your receipt, even for a gift card.  You can take it a step further and make a copy of the card.  Problems in the past have been with cards being taken from the mail.  Make sure if you're sending one to keep all documentation and package it in a way it isn't obvious there's a gift card in there.

5.  If you are the recipient of a gift card - spend it!!  Don't hold onto it or you might wind up being charged fees or worse - losing it. 

I'll keep watching for more tips and warnings.  I'll update this blog as I find more!

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