It’s no secret that gift cards are the most popular item on almost everyone’s wish list this year. Innovations in the gift card industry have made gift cards more secure and easier than ever to use. The average gifted gift card is around $50 and the most popular categories are restaurants, department stores, and coffee shops. Though your gift card will be a well-received gift, there are a few things you should know about this year’s gift cards before you make that final purchase:
- Fees. In 2009 the CARD Act was introduced and limited any inactivity fees and expiration dates on cards, however, general purpose gift cards can charge a purchase fee of up to $6.95. These are typically your Visa and MasterCard products (also referred to as open loop cards).
- Use them or lose them. Most cards do not expire. But some will after 5 years. If a gift card gets tucked away in a wallet or drawer they may easily get forgotten. There is also the risk of the retailer going out of business.
- Security Perks. Many retailers will replace gift cards if they are lost or stolen. But to take advantage of this perk, one must register their gift card in advance.
- Know your giftee. Gift card givers can save money by purchasing store-specific cards, but it’s good to know the shopping habits of the person who is receiving the gift.
- Always read the fine print. Check out the fine print to avoid any unwanted surprises, The back of the gift card usually list the brands terms and conditions.
- Check out mobile gift cards. Mobile gift cards make gifting easy. Mobile gift cards can be used as payment directly from a smart phone and 59% of gift cards are now available electronically. Mobile gift cards and electronic gift cards are perfect for millennials who are twice as likely to lose their gift cards. Another exciting feature of electronic gift cards is the ability to customize. You can upload a photo or video along with a custom message to make the gift card more personal, a great way to shake the impersonal feeling some people still get when gifting gift cards.
Learn more here about the dangers to consider when gifting your gift cards.
Looking for ways to save money on gift cards this holiday season? With little planning, your old gift cards could save you money on this year’s gifts. Click here for the 5 ways you can save!