5 Tips for Purchasing the Best Gift Card

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Gift cards can be a great choice when you don’t know exactly what someone wants, but you know in general what they like. Many people appreciate receiving a gift card because they can choose exactly what they want without having to deal with returns. According to the site Gift Card Granny, gift cards are the most requested present during the holidays, with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Amazon¬†(NASDAQ:AMZN)¬†cards being requested the most. Gift cards are also helpful to stores, because the average consumer spends 20 percent more than the worth of their gift card at the the store, plus many gift cards remain partially or completely unused. Still, although gift cards are popular, there are certain tips you should keep in mind when purchasing them. You can get a better deal by keeping certain things in mind, and you have a better chance of making the recipient happy if you think about their needs as well.

1. Read the fine print

Whether you’re buying a gift card for yourself because you see a good deal, or more likely you’re purchasing it as a gift, make sure you read the fine print. Some gift cards have an expiration date (usually two years, but sometimes one.) Other cards will let you continue to use the card even after the expiration date, but the consumer will have to pay a small fee each time they use it. In addition, some businesses charge the person buying the card a small convenience fee, but this is rare. Make sure you read all the fine print before you purchase the card. Some people might not appreciate a gift as much if they only have a short amount of time to use it.

Some gift cards have fine print directing where the card can be used as well, so look for that when reading over all the details. Certain cards can only be used in an actual store, and not online. Include the terms when you give the gift card to someone.

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