Everyone loves receiving and giving present playing cards for particular events. They scale back the stress of worrying if the recipient will like these denims or shirt you obtain them. They eradicate the faux smile and the "I can always use a new pair of jeans" routine from the individual getting the present. However, watch out for the dangers and hidden price whereas utilizing your present card.

Consumer Advantages

Every yr, present playing cards are rising in recognition. Generally, there are three completely different playing cards: store-specific present playing cards, restaurant present playing cards and general-purpose present playing cards. Store-specific present playing cards are meant for use on the explicit retailer and often include much less hidden charges. Some shops like Old Navy and Banana Republic have change into companions and enable their prospects to make use of the present card at both retailer. Restaurant present playing cards are similar to store-specific present playing cards. They permit you to go and take pleasure in a pleasant dinner as a present. Just ensure you tip the server the identical share as you’ll if you happen to had been paying the overall invoice. General-purpose present playing cards give the buyer a broader vary on the place to make use of the cardboard. These kinds of playing cards are usually Visa, GraspCard or American Express and can be utilized anyplace these main bank cards are accepted. The flexibility is the primary good thing about utilizing the general-purpose card. You can refill your fuel tank, exit to eat, purchase live performance tickets or no matter ever else you wish to do with it.

Consumer Disadvantages

Many basic objective playing cards come loaded with charges. According to the Lowdown on Gift Cards article on Bankrate.com, some gift-card applications will difficulty you one other card in case your card expires. These substitute playing cards will price you from $ 5.95 to $ 10. If you order the cardboard on-line or by cellphone you may be charged a $ four.95 to $ eight.95 delivery and dealing with payment and a $ three.95 to $ 11.95 service payment. Some present playing cards will cost you a month-to-month upkeep payment if you happen to nonetheless have a stability in your card after six months or a yr. If you continue to have a stability after this time period, a $ 2 to $ three month-to-month payment kicks in.

If your present card is misplaced or stolen, good luck! Some retailers won’t substitute a lacking present card. Other retailers akin to Macy's and Bloomingdales are extra easygoing and will difficulty you a brand new card if you happen to can present a receipt exhibiting your most up-to-date buy. Some general-purpose playing cards will cancel the lacking card and will re-issue a brand new one for a $ 5.95 to $ 10 payment.

So ensure you hold your card in a secure place, use it earlier than it expires and purchase it instantly from the merchandiser and you’ll keep away from most of those charges.


According to the Retailers Just Love Them article on CBC News Online, the gross sales of present playing cards have exploded from $ 1 billion in 1995 to an anticipated $ 70 billion in 2006 within the United States. As of 2004, 68 p.c of all main retailers supply some type of a present card. The quantity might be even larger now that it’s 2006. Coffee big, Starbucks, has estimated that 10 p.c of all their gross sales come from present playing cards.

Another motive retailers love present playing cards is shoppers can pay much less consideration to gross sales and they have a tendency to spend greater than what they’ve on the cardboard. Retailers discover that buyers will spend the entire quantity on the cardboard and have a small stability of $ 2 or $ three left on it. Chances are, customers won’t ever use the cardboard once more and this works to the retailer's benefit.

One extra benefit to retailers is as an alternative of getting simply the vacation rush and then being ready for vacation returns, they really get a double rush. Since shoppers give present playing cards as vacation presents, the present card holder will often rush straight to the mall after the vacations to spend their playing cards. This ends in a significant cut-down in returned merchandise.

There are a couple of disadvantages for retailers. Gift playing cards can price the retailer for 50 cents to $ three per card, relying on what number of are ordered. There are additionally implementation prices of as much as $ 50,000. Implementation prices cowl all begin up charges associated to producing and monitoring of present playing cards.

Gift Card Exchanging

Recently, Internet companies have created web pages permitting folks to promote or swap undesirable present playing cards. EBay bought concerned on this concept and now has greater than 7,500 present playing cards listed on the market or public sale. This might be a good suggestion if you happen to obtain a present card to a selected retailer and you don’t like something in that retailer. You can change these playing cards on these websites for different playing cards and even money. Sites akin to SwapAGift.com and CardAvenue.com are good websites that provide this service. On CardAvenue.com, you’ll be able to even purchase present playing cards at a reduced charge. For instance, you could possibly purchase a $ 25 Office Depot card for $ 17; That is one other manner of saving.

Copyright 2006 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.

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