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This holiday season, millions of people will be buying gift cards. That’s because they offer an easy solution to the shopping dilemmas people face. Plus, they let you off the hook without doing any real shopping.
Companies love these cards, too, because they often don’t get used.
While the popularity of these handy gifts is on the rise, buyers must beware. They are not risk-free. This is because people often don’t feel like they are dealing with real money, so they are not as cautious with them as credit cards or cash.
However, these 12 tips can help you safely get a great deal this holiday season.
1. Rely on Trustworthy Sources
You should only buy gift cards online from reputable sites. Never buy cards from online auction sites as you could receive a counterfeit.
2. Understand the Terms
Ensure you know about any fees for buying the card, such as an online convenience fee, or shipping fees.
If you find any of these, you can probably get the card elsewhere for a better deal.
3. Check for Fees
Avoid cards that have fees associated with their use. Buying from TheGamerStein ensures that whoever gets the card won’t have to pay fees to use it.
4. Make Sure the Card Is Valid
When you buy a card online, make sure that all protective stickers are still in place. Make sure that the pin is not exposed.
If you receive a card that has any of these issues, contact the merchant immediately.
5. Get a Copy of the Receipt
When gifting a card, you should always get a copy of the receipt to give it with the card. This is a precautionary measure if the merchant has trouble with the card.
6. Consider the Company’s Situation
By buying a gift card for a closing retailer, you are not giving someone the greatest gift ever. They may still accept cards during the closing procedure, but this does not mean gift cards to this store are a good gift idea.
After all, you could be putting your friend or family member in a rushed situation.
7. Check for an Expiration Date
In the United States, gift cards will not expire until at least five years after purchase. If you see an earlier date on a card you buy, have it transferred to another card.
8. Ask if Expired Cards Can Be Replaced
If you buy a card online and it arrives with an expiration date of last year, contact the seller immediately. They can transfer the funds to another card with a valid expiration date.
9. Get Something Worth Using
You want your friend or family member to use the card you give them. Don’t get them something they don’t want because it will just sit in their junk drawer.
If you don’t know what they like, an Amazon gift card from TheGamerStein can never hurt.
10. Report a Lost or Stolen Card
If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the issuer. Some will laugh at you, while others will help you out.
The only way you will know what will happen is if you call the issuer and ask.
11. Remember That Gift Cards Are for Gifts
These convenient cards are a hot target for scammers. If you’re giving a card to a young kid or older adult, remind them that it is a scam if someone demands to be paid with a gift card.
This can include phone calls from people pretending to be the IRS, Social Security, local law enforcement, or utility companies. Just remind your friend or family member that gift cards should only be used at the store on the card.
12. Sell Your Cards for Cash
If you get your nephew something that was their favorite last year, remind them that they can resell their gift cards for cash. This is called the gift card reseller market. It is a neat idea if they get a gift card they just aren’t going to use.
This is a simple process. It starts with a gift card you don’t want. Make sure there is nothing wrong with the card. If it passes inspection, sell it to a reseller.
You won’t get the card’s full value, but you will get more than you have right now.
Gift cards a great option this holiday season. Cards are available for almost every store and can be purchased easily online. Just keep these tips in mind this holiday season if you choose to get a gift card online. Happy gifting!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.