There are two types of people, when it comes to buying presents, those who enjoy buying them, and those who literarelly hate this activity. People from both of these groups (especially from the second one), from time to time, buy something that’s neither interesting nor useful to their precious someone.
In order for everybody to receive the perfect present, companies launched gift card programs. Since their first launch in mid-nineties, gift cards’ popularity has been continuously growing. They make present shopping much easier and ensure that every birthday boy and girl will receive exactly what they’ve wished for.
There are two major types of gift cards:
- Merchant-specific gift cards- can be used for purchasing at a specific location and are made by the retailer themkselves;
- Bank gift cards- these are issued by banks and credit card companies and can be used in various stores. Most bank gift cards come with purchase fees that range from $4 to $6.
Buying gift cards
Gift cards can be bought on various on- and offline locations. Most retailers sell them directly at the counter, as well as on their websites, while bank cards are usually ordered online and delivered at purchaser’s or reciever’s doorstep.
Places you should avoid when it comes to gift card purchases are websites that offer online auctions. Although not all gift cards sold on these websites are obtained by using fradulent ways, here you will find plenty of counterfit and stolen gift cards, sold at prices, much lower than regular. This threat is also recognized by Federal Trade Commission and mentioned on their website.
FTC also advises consumers to carefully read fine print on the card or a contract and to find out if the bank or a retailer charges any additional fees for future gift card purchases. Consumers also shouldn’t by gift cards from shaky businesses. Receivers often wait for several months, and sometimes even several years before they use gift cards, and since small and unreliable businesses can bankrupt fast, your loved ones can end up with the worst gift ever.
Using gift cards
Most gift cards have expiration dates, but some companies honor the card even after they expire. Rule of the thumb is to use the card as soon as possible, or to wait for some special discount or sale. Cards that get stolen should be treated in the same way as stollen money. You should report it to the issuer immediately, and although most companies don’t refund or reissue lost or stollen cards, some of them might enable you to recover card’s value.
Since most people receive dozens of gift cards these days, using various gift card mobile apps is by far the best way to carry them around and catch great sales on the go. Most of these online gift card wallets enable users to carry, balance, use and buy gift cards from various retailers.
It’s amazing how this invention changed our habits and made our life easier when it comes to buying and giving presents. Gift cards save our time and enable us to treat our loved ones with the most convinient and custimized gifts, that they won’t need to return back to the store.