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4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Gift Card This Holiday

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holiday gift card

‘Tis the season, Y’all! While my last post was about cold hard cash, today’s post is similar in spirit! Today, I’ve got a guest post from Amy over at Working Moms Word. She’s talking about gift cards and some things to consider before you gift them! Enjoy!


The season of gift-giving is approaching; the time when every people want to see the happy face of their loved ones by giving gifts. Well, giving a present is a nice gesture, but selecting the best gift can be quite stressful. You have to find out the best gift to make your dear ones happy.

Among many nice gift ideas, giving a gift card has become popular these days. Since it is a “practical gifting” idea, most of the times we choose a wrong gift as it is impossible to understand other person’s choice. Thus, giving a gift card is a mature thought as the person can use it for his/her convenience. You can be assured the gift will be appreciated rather than tossed in the back of the closet.

In addition, by giving a gift card, the giver can save time and money.

Consumer psychologist Cathrine Jansson-Boyd has said:

“A gift represents both you as a person and also what you think the person you’re giving to is like. People don’t want to be seen as giving the wrong thing; as misinterpreting someone’s personality. People won’t give cash because it can be seen as an insult; like you can’t be bothered. Even if a card isn’t a great effort, it still seems like you’ve made an effort of some kind.”

Though giving a gift card is a great idea, yet there are many things to consider before buying a gift card this holiday season.

1. Shop around before buying gift cards

You should never buy a gift card without comparing the price. Make sure you check if there are discounts available on gift cards before paying the full retail price. You can get many perks on your buying like getting a free meal, a free gift card, or a certain percent off on your purchase. So, try to get discounts on your gift card purchase. You can also buy gift cards online to get great deals.

2. Check the expiration date of the gift cards

Many consumers complained about the short expiration date. Some gift cards even have hidden restrictions and terms. Thus, it is important to check the expiration date including terms and conditions while buying gift cards. However, as per the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, if you buy a store issued a gift card, then it will not expire for 5 years. But, if the recipient doesn’t redeem the card for a year, then the person will be charged a dormancy or a non-use fee.

3. Give a gift card that can be used for post-Christmas clearance sale

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the ultimate time to get deals. People get enough discounts on their purchases. What about the shopping after the official shopping season is over. Before entering the New Year, if your dear ones have a gift card in hand, they can easily buy the necessary items during the post-Christmas clearance sale.

4. Choose a card that can be redeemed easily

As per the recent survey conducted by the Consumer group, almost 10% of gift cards were not redeemed. Thus, the retailers are getting benefits as the recipient are not redeeming the cards. Why don’t people redeem the gift cards they receive as a gift? Most of the people claim that redeeming the gift card is a hassle. Thus, you need to choose a gift card that can be redeemed easily. Ask about the usage and the process of redeeming while buying the card. Explain the redeem process to the recipient to ensure that the person gets the benefit.

What if the gift card doesn’t work or goes missing

Many times people say that when they tried to use the gift cards they received, they came to know that the card has a zero balance. When the victim called the phone number mentioned on the back of the gift card, either no one received the call or informed that the card has a balance but can’t redeem that.

It can happen if the recipient doesn’t use the gift card for a long time or the retailer who sold the card is fake. Thus, if you receive a gift card, then don’t let it sit in your drawer. So, make sure you use the card within the deadline.

Also, make sure the retailer is authentic before buying a gift card. If you are an online shopper, then try to read the review before purchasing the gift cards.

Also if you misplace the card, you should contact the retailer right away. Check the receipt where you may find the toll free number; ask them to cancel the card. They can likely reissue you a new card. However, some bank issued gift cards may charge you a certain fee as a replacement fee.

Mark Huffman of ConsumerAffairs.com says:

“Purchase gift cards from secure displays or from stores that load the card with its value at the checkout. And always keep the receipts – that goes for anything – but if it’s empty you can go back to the store”.


Author’s Bio: Amy Nickson is a web enthusiast. She shares her expertise through her crisp and well-researched articles based on money management, money saving ideas and so on. You can follow her blog, Working Moms Word, where she shares her expertise in the personal finance field.

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1 Comment


  1. // Reply

    This is a great article to read, especially after reading your last about gifting cash. I have received requests from many people asking for gift cards this season, and my response is, “fine! But you better use them!” Lol would you say it’s better to just offer cash instead?

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